Governments turned their attention to a possible new wave of cyber threats on Tuesday after the group that leaked U.S. hacking tools used to launch the global WannaCry “ransomware” attack warned it would release more malicious code.The fast-spreading cyber extortion campaign, which has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide since Friday, eased for second day on Tuesday, but the identity and motive of its creators remain unknown.The attack includes elements that belong to the U.S. National Security Agency and were leaked online last month.
Shadow Brokers, the group that has taken credit for that leak, threatened on Tuesday to release more recent code to enable hackers to break into the world’s most widely used computers, software and phones.A blog post written by the group promised from June to release tools every month to anyone willing to pay for access to some of the tech world’s biggest commercial secrets.
It also threatened to dump data from banks using the SWIFT international money transfer network and from Russian, Chinese, Iranian or North Korean nuclear and missile programs. “More details in June,” it promised.The spread of the WannaCry attack – which encrypts a user’s data and demands a “ransom” be paid electronically to free it up again – slowed to a trickle on Tuesday, with few, isolated examples being reported.In Canada, the Universite de Montreal was hit, with 120 of the French-language university’s 8,300 computers affected, according to a university spokeswoman.
There were no new, major incidents in the United States. Fewer than 10 U.S. organizations have reported attacks to the Department of Homeland Security since Friday, a U.S. official told reporters on Tuesday.The attack has caused most damage in Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India, according to Czech security firm Avast.The United States likely avoided greater harm as the attack targeted older versions of Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system, and more U.S. users have licensed, up-to-date, patched versions of the software, compared to other regions of the world.