Mobile internet next target of cyber attack: insiders

Screen showing places being affected by virus. (rom CCTV)


The cyber attack seems to be no longer far from ordinary people’s lives, as global authorities are busy handling the latest wave of ransomware attack. Insiders warned that the mobile network will be the next target of hackers.

The ransomware, called WannaCry, which exploited the vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems, encrypted data on the computers, demanding certain amount of payments to restore access.

It is reported that the WannaCry cyber attack has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries.

“The length of the encryption key is 4096 bits, which means great strength in encryption. It is impossible to simply unlock it with an ordinary computer,” said Ling Li, associate professor at School of Information Science and Technology, Fudan University.

With no exception, China also fell victim to the global malware cyber attack. Data showed that 29,000 IPs were affected and the authorities, corporates and universities are among the worst hit. State-owned oil giant PetroChina became the hackers’ latest high profile victim in China.

In response, they had to cut the networks linking its petrol stations nationwide for 12 hours on Saturday and accepted only cash after the company’s internet payment functions were disabled. On Sunday, about 80 percent of its network was back online, according to PetroChina.

United States security experts said if you did get attacked by ransomware like Wannacry – where you’re told to pay a Bitcoin amount to get back your files – options are limited.

“All you can do is try to upgrade as fast you can, but you might have to pay the ransom just to recover your files. So there’s no easy way out and people are paying. So far I think 50,000 dollars has been paid to these guys.” said Mandeep Khera, chief marketing officer of Arxan, a US cyber security service provider.

Though the spreading of the virus has significantly slowed down , insiders said the security concern of the mobile internet deserves more attention.

“As for the safety of the mobile internet, since the whole industrial chain hasn’t gotten through, the hackers still can’t obtain an easy access to it by a loophole. However, when conditions allow, they will shift their focus to the mobile terminal and then the security of the mobile internet will be under great pressure in the future,” said Xu Ming, president of Cheetah Mobile Inc., a Chinese mobile internet company.

Though this attack is coming to an end, the danger will always be just once click away, experts warned. (Courtesy China Central Television)