…Alerts banks, telcos over new malware
By Olabisi Olaleye with agency report
The banking and telecommunications industries may need to tighten their security back ends as Federal Government has warned of another wannacry, which recently hacked into systems in India, Australia and some parts of Europe.
The government feared that Africa and particularly Nigeria may be the next target to suffer this deadly attack and has called all stakeholders to be at alert.
With concerted effort, the government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) explained that another deadly cyber-attack, similar to the recent ‘WannaCry’ attack is going viral. This attack, called ‘Petya’ ransomware or ‘GoldenEye’, not only encrypts files but also encrypts hard drives, rendering entire computer system inaccessible.
“The attack has paralysed businesses across the world and is spreading quickly with reports indicating that countries affected so far include Ukraine, Denmark, Russia, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and the USA. The malware is spreading using a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was patched in March 2017 — the same bug that was exploited by the WannaCry ransomware”.
It would be recalled that it was exactly a month ago, PC users were hit with a massive ransomware attack called WannaCry. Today, users are reporting connected PCs and devices once again being rendered useless, with a Bitcoin ransom to be paid before the systems could be decrypted.
According to TechCrunch, the attack initially appeared to be originating from Ukraine. Now users in Spain, France, Russia, and India are all reporting computers being hijacked. Now for the scary part: The ransomware appears to be targeting banks, hospitals, and utility companies. It’s apparently only affecting computers that haven’t been patched with the latest Microsoft security updates.
Commenting on the deadly virus, NITDA’s Director General,Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, assured that the agency’s CERRT team are working round the clock along with other stakeholders to come up with effective defence mechanism for the Nigerian cyberspace.
“We are calling on Network administrators in the public and private sectors as well as individuals to take the following measures recommended during the recent WannaCry attack: isolate the system from the network to prevent the threat from spreading further,remove the system from network and do not use flash/pen drive, do not external drives on the system to copy files to other system”.
He also advised that individuals and organisations should regularly update their operating systems with the latest patches; update their software applications with latest patches; turnoff unnecessary/unneeded features, avoid downloading and opening unsolicited files and attachments;adjust security software to scan compressed or archived files; and avoid indiscriminate use wireless connections, such as Bluetooth or infrared ports”.