Booking.com

Monday, May 15, 2017

Putin blames USA for The Great Cyber Attack - #Tech #Security


MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed U.S. intelligence services Monday for a global cyberattack that struck Russian computer systems particularly hard, attempting to reverse a narrative that has placed the Kremlin at the center of blame for politically charged hacking.
“The primary source of the virus is the United States,” he said in remarks to journalists in Beijing. “Russia is in no way involved.”
The Kremlin leader said the virus caused “no substantial damage” to Russia’s cyber infrastructure. But the attacks underscored major vulnerabilities in the country’s computing infrastructure, experts say.
Security experts said the attack used code believed to have been stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Corp. Windows software. The U.S. spying agency has declined to comment on the matter.
Costin Raiu, director of global research at Moscow-based antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab ZAO, said Russia may be susceptible to attack because much of the country uses old or pirated versions of Windows.
“It’s possible that the use of pirated software is a factor here. Russia, Ukraine, India and China were some of the hardest hit and this could be correlated with piracy rates in those countries,” he said, noting that since the start of the global hack, Russia has accounted for two-thirds of the cyberattacks world-wide.
At the height of the attack over the weekend, Russian authorities were largely silent, offering few clues as to the extent of the damage or advice to businesses hit by the virus.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert who tracks Russian security agencies, said the cybersecurity wing of Russia’s domestic intelligence agency has recently been in turmoil. Earlier this year, reports emerged of a series of high-profile arrests in Russia that purportedly included officers of the country’s secretive Federal Security Service. Russia hasn’t commented on the reports.
Mr. Soldatov noted that one of those arrested was a senior officer in the Information Security Center, the FSB’s cybersecurity wing.
“No one is quite sure what their new role is after the arrest,” he said. “And in any case, the role of the authorities is to protect state data, not the data of ordinary Russians.”
U.S. and Western officials blame Russia for an extended campaign of state-sponsored cyberattacks that have roiled global politics, from last year’s hack of the Democratic National Committee to recent intrusions targeting French President Emmanuel Macron’s party ahead of his election. Cybersecurity experts say “Shadow Brokers,” the hacking group that leaked the software, represent a state-sponsored hacking effort by Russia.
In April, the group said it had stolen the attack code from the NSA, a claim that surfaced amid allegations the Kremlin attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election through a campaign of hacking and disinformation. Mr. Putin has said the Russian state doesn’t carry out hacking.
Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, whom Russia granted asylum in 2013 after he was charged with espionage by the U.S., said in a tweet on Friday the leak of the software likely indicated an attempt by Russia to reveal the U.S.’ cyber capabilities for all to see.
This most recent wave of attacks, however, allows the Russian government to cast itself as the target of hacking, rather than the attacker. Cyber experts see a likelihood that the attack will be used to add momentum to the Kremlin’s plans to introduce greater control over the internet.
Russian security services paid little attention to the internet until protests in 2011 and 2012, when tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in Moscow to protest against Mr. Putin’s continued leadership.
Since then Mr. Putin and the FSB have looked for ways to control access to the internet and make user activity more transparent to security services. Russia has played with the idea of creating a version of the Chinese firewall, and the Chinese government official credited with developing it has been to Russia to speak with government officials, according to Mr. Soldatov.
Following the attack, Herman Klimenko, adviser to Mr. Putin for internet development, praised the president’s order to create a firewall at least for government employees, calling the creation of a “Russian segment” of the web an important step.
Information security expert Alexey Lukatsky said the recent cyberattacks would likely speed up legislation in the Russian Parliament that would add new layers of secrecy to cyber systems used by the country’s most powerful ministries.
“I think you can expect another order from the president and the expedition of the passage of the law on cyber information infrastructure,” he said on Twitter.
WALL STREET JOURNAL

No comments:

Post a Comment