Cyber attack: ‘US infection rate lower’ than other places


WASHINGTON:  The impact of the massive global cyber attack on the United States is not as severe as in some other countries, the White House has said, noting that less than USD 70,000 has been paid in ransoms as a result of this.

            “Overall, the US infection rate has been lower than many parts of the world, but we may still see a significant impact on additional networks as these malware attacks morph and change,” said Tom Bossert, Assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism.

            “Despite appearing to be criminal activity intended to raise money, it appears that less than USD 70,000 has been paid in ransoms, and we are not aware of payments that led to any data recovery.

            The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center is also keeping us informed of the classified insights considering the investigation into the attacks,” he told reporters at the daily White House news conference.

            Noting that the administration is closely monitoring the situation around the clock at the highest levels of government, Bossert said the United States is bringing all the capabilities of the US government to bear on this issue, and is working side-by-side with its partners in the private sector and international partners.

            “I spoke moments ago with my counterpart in Great Britain and learned an update from them that they have a feeling of control over this ransomware event and that as their affected computers seemed to have been tied to this is a fact that their healthcare system is so large in network,” he said.

            “They are painfully aware, though, of the fact that this is a global attack, as are we. As of this morning, it has reached approximately 150 countries and infected more than 3,00,000 machines.

            The good news is the infection rates have slowed over the weekend. We had been concerned about that when last we talked,” the White House official said.

            The ransomware has disrupted telecommunications companies, hospitals, and other organisations, he said, adding that the UK National Health Care Service announced 48 of its organisations were affected, and that resulted in inaccessible computers and telephone service, but an extremely minimal effect on disruption to patient care.

            “That was something quite evident in my conversation. Computers at the Spanish telecommunications company, Telefonica, were compromised, and we had a small number of affected parties in the US, including FedEx,” he added.

            Department of Homeland Security continues to lead operations and public/private coordination. (AGENCIES)


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