Thanks, NSA

Who would have ever thought that a government bureaucracy would fail to adequately take safeguards against its tech-weaponry proliferating?

More than 100 countries across the world have been affected by the ‘unprecedented’ cyber attack using a computer virus ‘superweapon’ dubbed the ‘atom bomb of malware’. It is believed more than 130,000 IT systems are affected around the world, including hospitals in the UK, telecoms and gas firms in Spain, schools in China, railways in Germany and the FedEx delivery company.

The European Union’s police agency, Europol, says it is working with countries hit by the ransomware scam to rein in the threat, help victims and track down the criminals. In a statement, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, known as EC3, said the attack ‘is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits.’

Security experts say the malicious software behind the onslaught appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was identified by the US National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes.

The NSA documents were stolen and then released to the world last month by a mysterious group known as the Shadow Brokers. The hackers, who have not come forward to claim responsibility, likely made it a ‘worm’, or self spread malware, by exploiting a piece of NSA code known as Eternal Blue, according to several security experts.

The idea that a government can adequately safeguard anything should have been exploded when the USA was unable to preserve its monopoly on nuclear weapons. If they can’t keep something as uniquely advantageous and powerful as that to themselves, what can they protect? Area 51?