May 12, 2017

Hacking group used leaked NSA tool for global cyberattack

Patrick Semansky / AP

A massive cyberattack that hit over 74 countries across Europe and Asia and led to major breakdowns in England's NHS hospitals Friday involved a type of malware that is used by the National Security Agency, called ransomware, according to The New York Times.

The ransomware was leaked by a hacker crew called Shadow Brokers, which has been leaking NSA hacking tools for the past year. Microsoft has since developed a better protection system to strengthen the NSA tool, but the hackers discovered that certain places, like NHS hospitals, hadn't updated their software yet.

The targets, which were all hit with the same type of ransomware, were reported in over 12 countries — including the U.K., Spain, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan. Hospitals and telecommunications companies were among the most common institutions affected.

Broader implications: Phil Reitinger, President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance, told Axios that cyber weapons, like ransomware, "proliferate at internet speed":

"A use, any use, of a cyber weapon, bears the risk of telling the bad guys, even the less sophisticated ones, how to use that attack. It's like a nation used a smart bomb once, and thereafter, terrorists around the world could build and deploy that same bomb. Once a technology is deployed, it's almost impossible to put it back in the bottle."

Go deeper

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.