Another large-scale, stealthy cyberattack is underway on
a scale that could
dwarf last week's assault on computers worldwide, a global
told AFP .
The new malware attack aims the same vulnerabilities the
WannaCry ransomware worm exploited but, rather than freeze files, uses the
hundreds of thousands of computers believed to have been infected to mine
Following the detection of the WannaCry attack on May 12,
"researchers at Proofpoint discovered a new attack linked to WannaCry
called Adylkuzz," said Nicolas Godier, a researcher at the computer
Chinese state media says US should take some blame for
"It uses the hacking tools recently disclosed by the
NSA and which have since been fixed by Microsoft in a stealthier manner and for
a different purpose," he said.
Instead of completely disabling an infected computer by
encrypting data and seeking a ransom payment, Adylkuzz uses the machines it
infects to "mine" in a background task a virtual currency, Monero,
and transfer the money created to the authors of the virus.
Virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Monero records the transactions
of the volunteer’s computers. They are said to "mine" for the
currency and are occasionally rewarded with a piece of it.
Proofpoint said in a blog that symptoms of the attack
include loss of access to shared Windows resources and degradation of PC and
server performance, effects which some users may not notice immediately.
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Godier said, "As it is silent and doesn't trouble
the user, the Adylkuzz attack is much more profitable for the cyber criminals.
It transforms the infected users into unwitting financial supporters of their
Proofpoint said, “it has detected infected machines that
have transferred several thousand dollars’ worth of Monero to the creators of
The company believes Adylkuzz has been losing since at
least May 2, and perhaps even since April 24, but due to its stealthy nature
was not immediately detected.
Proofpoint's vice president for email products, Robert
Holmes, told AF, "We don't know how big it is" but "it's much
bigger than WannaCry".
A US official on Tuesday told the number of computers
infected by WannaCry got upto 300,000.
"We have seen that before -- malwares mining
cryptocurrency -- but not this scale," said Holmes.
The malware attack of WannaCry has spread a havoc in
computer systems worldwide.
Britain's National Health Service, US package delivery
giant FedEx, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica and Germany's Deutsche Bahn rail
network were among those hit.