The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories
Ransomware attacks — in which virally propagated malware spreads from computer to computer, locking up owners’ data until a ransom is paid — are becoming a regular thing. Yesterday the latest one emerged in Europe, hobbling banks, communications systems, and power companies in Ukraine and spreading sporadically around the world (The Guardian).
The new attack is similar to the Wannacry incident last month in that it exploits an old vulnerability in Microsoft Windows — if you’re up to date, you should be safe — and depends, at least in part, on hacking tools originally developed by the NSA.
So far the fallout seems to be widespread but not catastrophic. Still, here’s one sign of how easily these attacks can cause massive collateral damage: Maersk, the container-shipping giant that is the world’s largest shipper, shut down operations in Los Angeles and other ports and said all of its business units had been affected (Reuters).
The actual dollars involved are pitifully small, and since a German email provider shut down the account to which hapless victims are supposed to send their ransom payments, you can’t rescue your data even if you want to. It’s a good bet that the promulgators of these attacks are less interested in pocketing cash, anyway, than in sowing discord. On that front, they’re racking up the score.
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