June 28, 2017

Massive Cyberattacks Hit US, Europe

Another major round of ransomware cyberattacks struck Europe and the United States today.

by Chris Thomas

Photo credit: Piron Guillaume

The virus, named “Petya” both encrypts files and overwrites key boot instructions, rendering the compromised system useless without a key. The ransomware demands $300 in Bitcoin to unlock encrypted files.

Petya, like the WannaCry virus that crippled systems in May, exploits the MS17–010 vulnerability, which began life as a NSA cyber weapon named “EternalBlue.”

What Congress Is Doing

The attack is too recent for Congress to have much of a response but two bills will probably enjoy tailwinds as a result of today’s attack.

HR-584

The Cyber Preparedness Act of 2017 will probably enjoy tailwinds as a result of this and the May attacks. Introduced as HR-584 by Rep Dovovan (R-NY 11th), the Cyper Preparedness Act requires communication between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and state and local authorities to better prepare for and respond to cyber attacks. HR-584 has passed the House and now awaits consideration by the Senate.

S-412

In the Senate, S-412, the State and Local Cyber Protection Act of 2017 may likewise benefit from the attacks. Introduced by Sen Peters (D-MI) this bill also focuses upon cooperation between federal and state authorities with respect to issues of cybersecurity but mandates stricter protections for confidentiality and privacy protection of innocent individuals who’s data is collected in the course of cybersecurity work. S-412 is assigned to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee. No votes have been held on it at this time.

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