Global cyber attack holds thousands to ransom but no reports so far of hacking in New Zealand



1 NEWS | Associated Press

Two New Zealand cyber security bodies say there are so far no reports of computer hackings in New Zealand as a global cyber attack demanding ransom has infected nearly 100 countries.

Authorities say they're taking extra steps to strengthen our cyber security.
Source: 1 NEWS

Online maps appear to show computers in New Zealand have been affected by the malware but those infections are unconfirmed.

Neither the Government's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) or the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) have received any reports that Kiwis were targeted in the ransomware attack.

However, CERT NZ has told 1 NEWS it is an evolving situation and the latest information on the hacks can be found at CERT NZ.

More than 75,000 computers have reportedly been affected in 99 countries around the world, hitting Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan the hardest according to cybersecurity firm Avast.

CERT believes a phishing email with malicious attachment or link was used to penetrate the Windows operating system with the virus, called WannaCry.

"Once a single computer in a network is affected with WannaCry, the program looks for other vulnerable computers in the network and infects them as well," the organisation said.

IT company RedLock CEO Varun Badhwar says, "We've never seen something spread this quickly across this many countries."
Source: Associated Press

The malware is also known as Wana DecryptOr, WannaCryptor or WCRY and uses a file extension .wcry.

The ransom was initially $NZ430 but is believed to have doubled over time, CERT understands.

An NCSC spokesman told NZ Newswire the ransomware exploits a known Windows vulnerability, and advice had previously been provided to customers on how to address the issue.

"We are also working with CERT NZ to provide information on how individuals, small businesses and operators of larger systems can reduce their vulnerability to ransomware attacks," he said.

At least 16 British National Health Service organisations were among those targeted, crippling computer systems and telephone lines and causing delays.

Companies including US delivery company FedEx and the Spanish telco Telefonica were also affected.

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