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Putin Blames U.S. For Global Cyber Attack As Thousands More Affected Monday

May 15, 2017

A global cyber attack was still proving to affect thousands on Monday, as the world woke up to more computer woes than it had bargained for.

A homeland security official sent an “urgent call for collective action” on Monday in response to the global catastrophe, according to a report on CBS News. The cyber attack affected more than 200,000 hospitals, corporations, government agencies and, in the United States, FedEx, among other organizations in 150 countries, according to the report.

Tom Bossert, Homeland Security adviser to President Donald Trump, said it was likely others would be affected as they logged into work computers today.

According to a Fox News report, this is the “biggest online extortion attack ever recorded,” as it has affected computers “that run Britain’s hospital network, Germany’s national railway and scores of other companies, factories and government agencies worldwide.”

On Friday, the large-scale cyber attack hit NHS hospitals across England by hackers demanding random, as previously reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since blamed the U.S. for the cyber attack, “noting that the malicious software used in the attack had originally been developed by the National Security Agency [NSA],” according to a report in the New York Times. That software was stolen and released by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers, the Times reported.

Thousands more organizations were added to to the list of affected institutions, according to the Times – including 4,000 academic institutions; “two of China’s most prestigious institutions of higher education, Tsinghua and Peking Universities; a movie theater chain in South Korea; and blue-chip companies in Japan like Hitachi and Nissan, which emphasized that their business operations had not been impaired.”

When someone logs into his or her computer that has been affected by the malware, or malicious software, the screen becomes locked and a link pops up asking for ransom money in order to have that user’s data restored, according to reports.

Bossert said on Monday that less than $70,000 in ransom has been paid, according to CBS. The U.S. government does not recommend paying the ransom, Bossert added, and cautioned that paying up does not mean the computer files are restored, according to the CBS report.

“Worldwide, the so-called WannaCry attack… has affected hundreds of thousands of computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in software,” CBS reported.

Bossert said “attribution is difficult” in identifying who launched the attack, and that experts are still trying to determine who launched it, according to CBS.