Another weekend, another massive global cyberattack? That is certainly the concern among business owners and security experts worldwide as a hacking group is threatening to release another round of cyberweapons and a new, fast-moving piece of malware is rapidly infecting computers worldwide.
Malware with a name — Adylkuzz — which, like WannaCry before it, relies on a Windows bug that was patched on March 14.
Unlike its predecessor, Adylkuzz doesn’t just shutdown the computer screens; instead it vampires off processing power to generate a little-known digital currency called Monero, which has the effect of shutting the computer down. Adylkuzz has reportedly infected more than 150,000 machines around the globe in the two weeks it has been spreading, according to Ryan Kalember, senior vice president with the security intelligence firm Proofpoint Inc.
That means Adylkuzz is doing about as well as WannaCry, which has largely stopped spreading. Security company Kaspersky Lab ZAO pegged the number of Adylkuzz infections at just several thousand by Wednesday, so clearly it is moving fast.
And that is just the beginning of the goods news. There is also a hacking group going by the D&D-ready handle “The Shadow Brokers” who have threatened to release a new trove of cyberattack tools next month.
The groups says it has the power to hit web browsers, routers, mobile phones and Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. The first trove, which it and Microsoft said was stolen from the National Security Agency, was dumped last month and used by WannaCry.
An MS representative has noted the company is aware of the Shadow Brokers’ threat and has its security team working double time to monitor for what’s next. The NSA has declined to comment on any part of the situation.
“In a few years we’re going to be looking back and saying that 2017 was clearly a turning point,” said Edward Amoroso, the former security chief at AT&T Inc. “That’s when we started to see businesses affected. If your employees are coming in and they can’t work, that’s a big deal.”
The good news: both Wanna Cry and Adylkuzz can be shut down via a patch to the Windows system — once patched, neither malware works.
But even patched, security experts note there will always be a next attack.
“There’s no wall you can build that’s high enough or deep enough to keep a dedicated adversary out,” said John Carlin, a former cybercrimes prosecutor at the Justice Department.