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The second quarter of 2017 saw threat actors unleash new and enhanced malicious tools, including three zero-day exploits and two unprecedented attacks: WannaCry and ExPetr, says an IT security product company. Analysis of the last two suggests the code may have escaped into the wild before it was fully ready, an unusual situation for well-resourced attackers, according to Kaspersky Lab’s latest quarterly threat intelligence summary.
The months from April to June witnessed significant developments in targeted attacks by, among others, Russian-, English-, Korean-, and Chinese-speaking threat actors. These developments have far-reaching implications for business IT security, according to Kaspersky: sophisticated malicious activity is happening continuously almost everywhere in the world, increasing the risk of companies and non-commercial organisations becoming collateral damage in cyber warfare. The allegedly nation-state backed WannaCry and ExPetr destructive epidemics, whose victims included many companies and others across the globe, became the first but most likely not the last example of the new, dangerous trend, the firm suggests.
While very different in nature and targets, WannaCry and ExPetr were surprisingly ineffective as ‘ransomware’, it’s claimed. For example, in the case of WannaCry, its rapid global spread and high profile put a spotlight on the attackers’ Bitcoin ransom account and made it hard for them to cash out. This suggests that the real aim of the WannaCry attack was data destruction, the report suggests.
Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, Senior Security Researcher, Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab said: “We have long maintained the importance of truly global threat intelligence to aid defenders of sensitive and critical networks. We continue to witness the development of overzealous attackers with no regard for the health of the Internet and those in vital institutions and businesses who rely on it on a daily basis. As cyberespionage, sabotage, and crime run rampant, it’s all the more important for defenders to band together and share cutting-edge knowledge to better defend against all threats.”