An international cyber attack struck the globe on Friday (May 12),including countries like UK ,Spain, US and Russia. It apparently exploited a flaw exposed in the documents leaked from US National Security Agency.
Two security firms — Kaspersky Lab and Avast — said they had identified the malware behind the attacks, indicating that Russia was the hardest hit.
A world map showed Israel among those affected but on a low scale alongside regional neighbors Jordan, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Low-level attacks were also recorded in Canada, the US, most of South America and Europe.
It was not immediately clear which industries or companies in Israel were affected.
India, Ukraine and Kazakhstan were more severely hit, as shown on the map.
The Russian Interior Ministry has confirmed it was hit by the “ransomware” attack, which encrypts data on infected computers and demands payment, usually via the digital currency bitcoin, to release it. Britain’s health service was also hit hard Friday as the attack froze computers at hospitals across the country, shutting down wards, closing emergency rooms and bringing medical treatments to a screeching halt.
The attacks — which experts said affected dozens of countries — used a technique known as ransomware that locks users’ files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual currency bitcoin.
Affected by the onslaught were computer networks at hospitals in Britain, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and the US delivery firm FedEx and many other organizations.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre and its National Crime Agency were looking into the UK incidents, which disrupted care at National Health Service facilities.
“This is not targeted at the NHS, it’s an international attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said.
Russia’s interior ministry said that some of its computers had been hit by a “virus attack” and that efforts were underway to destroy it.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s computer emergency response team said it was aware of ransomware infections “in several countries around the world.”
Jakub Kroustek of the security firm Avast said in a blog post update around 2000 GMT, “We are now seeing more than 75,000 detections… in 99 countries.”
Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu cited 45,000 attacks in 74 countries, saying that the malware, a self-replicating “worm,” was spreading quickly.
In a statement, Kaspersky Labs said it was “trying to determine whether it is possible to decrypt data locked in the attack — with the aim of developing a decryption tool as soon as possible.”