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US City Hit By Ransomware Attack, Internet Shut

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San Francisco: A ransomware attack has crippled the US city of Baltimore that has brought all of its email and online payment gateways to a standstill. The hackers are demanding $76,280 in exchange for freeing all the city’s systems. The tool that has paralysed the city is a National Security Agency creation called “EternalBlue”, which has been used in other high-profile cyber attacks including “Wannacry” in May 2017, The Verge reported on Saturday.

Security experts suggest that hackers used “EternalBlue” to exploit a vulnerability in some versions of Windows XP and Vista systems, allowing an external party to execute remote commands on their target. According to The Baltimore Sun, a ransom note left on a Baltimore city computer identified the ransomware as RobbinHood and demanded a payment of three Bitcoins (equivalent to $17,600 at current prices) per system, or 13 Bitcoins (worth $76,280) to re-store the entire city’s systems. In April 2017, the tool was leaked by hacking group The ShadowBrokers and within a day Microsoft had released a patch to fix the exploit. However, just patching a system does not mean total closure of vulnerabilities. (IANS)

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