NSA behind Ransomware Cyber Attack: Iranian Official

Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali said the US National Security Agency (NSA) is behind a massive wave of cyber attacks in 99 countries that seize control of computers until the victims pay a ransom.

In remarks released on Sunday, Brigadier General Jalali pointed to the massive cyber attack and said the ransomware has spread from the NSA and was used on purpose.

As the malware spread quickly across the world, some government or intelligence apparatus must be behind the cyber attacks, he said.

The commander added that since the US is not among the target countries of the ransomware, which are mainly in Europe and Asia, it can be said that the US is the origin of the cyber attacks.

On Saturday, the Iranian Cyber Police issued a security alert to all Internet users in the country, encouraging people and organizations to update their operating systems to ward off the malware.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali Niknafas, a commander of the Cyber Police -known as FATA in Iran- called on all users to update their computer and network systems to avoid being affected by the ransomware, called “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt.”

Hospitals, major companies and government offices in 99 countries have been hit by the ransomware.

Cybersecurity firm Avast said it had identified more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in the world, making it one of the broadest and most damaging cyber attacks in history.

Avast said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. But British hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms also reported they had come under assault.

WannaCry locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer’s administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. The ransomware is spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft released a security patch for in March.

In the wake of the attack, Microsoft said it had taken the “highly unusual step” of releasing a patch for computers running older operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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