Ransomware using cyberweapons stolen from the National Security Agency struck a New Jersey conglomerate April 29 — setting off alarms with its global chief information officer that future attacks loom and "the world isn't ready," The New York Times reported.
Golan Ben-Oni of IDT Corp. was able to fend off the attack, which was similar to the devastating global strike by WannaCry that hit England, China, and elsewhere – but went unreported in the media.
But according to the Times, the ransom demand at IDT was just a smoke screen for a far more invasive attack that stole employee credentials.
"The world is burning about WannaCry, but this is a nuclear bomb compared to WannaCry," Ben-Oni told the Times. "This is different. It's a lot worse. It steals credentials. You can't catch it, and it's happening right under our noses.
"The world isn't ready for this."
Since the Shadow Brokers leaked dozens of coveted attack tools, hospitals, schools, cities, police departments, and companies around the world have largely been left to fend for themselves against weapons developed by the world's most sophisticated attacker: the NSA, the Times reported.
The assault on IDT was not spotted by some of the nation's leading cybersecurity products, the top security engineers at its biggest tech companies, government intelligence analysts or the FBI, which remains consumed with the WannaCry attack, the Times reported.
According to the Times, scans for the two hacking tools used against IDT indicate 10s of thousands of computer systems all over the world have been "backdoored" by the same NSA weapons. Ben-Oni and other security researchers worry that many of those other infected computers are connected to transportation networks, hospitals, water treatment plants, and other utilities, the Times reported.
"I started to get the sense that we were the canary," he said. "But we recorded it."
Since IDT was hit, Ben-Oni has contacted other information officers to warn them of an attack that could still be worming its way, undetected, through victims' systems.
"Time is burning," he told the Times. "Understand, this is really a war — with offense on one side, and institutions, organizations and schools on the other, defending against an unknown adversary."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.