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Trump's National Security Advisor: WannaCry Attack 'Under Control'

President Donald Trump's homeland security advisor Tom Bossert says the WannaCry ransomware - which impacted more than 200,000 organizations in 150 countries- is not as grave a threat for the US.

President Donald Trump's homeland security advisor Tom Bossert said the global ransomware attack WannaCry - which has has hit more than 200,000 organizations including hospitals and government agencies in 150 countries- is "under control" in the United States.

"[People] should be thinking about this as an attack that for right now we (have) got under control," said Bossert, in an interview with ABC News on Monday. "But also as an attack that represents an extremely serious threat … this criminal threat has turned into something that has affected hospitals in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, [and] something that might morph into a more difficult threatening matter."

The massive ransomware campaign specifically targeted the healthcare industry. Those infected were told to pay $300 in order to restore access, with the cost doubling after three days.

[Related: Solution Providers On The Front Line In Fight Against WannaCry Ransomware Attack]

Bossert said the US government doesn't make a recommendation on paying ransom.

"I would provide a strong caution in dealing with people who are obviously not scrupulous. So making a payment does not mean you're going to get your data back," said Bossert.

In a White House press briefing today, Bossert said less than $70,000 has been paid in response to the cyberattacks. He also gave kudos to Microsoft for having released a patch for the ransomware in March.

However, Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post Sunday that the "stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments" is a huge issue.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage," said Smith.

Bossert said the ransomware was "not a tool developed by the NSA to hold ransom data" but was "developed by culpable parties, potentially criminals of foreign nation state".

"This [attack] is an urgent call for collective action," said Bossert. "We need people at every level to engage in their network hygiene, which is not necessarily the nicest thing to talk about. We also need government action. Collective action aboard and with the United States to address this type of attack."


One executive who leads the security business for a solution provider ranked on CRN's 2016 Solution Provider 500 list, said the threat isn't completely under control in the US.

"The attack itself is no worse than other malware attacks as far as the severity of it, but it still isn't under control even though the US wasn't hit as hard as some other countries," said the executive, who did not wish to be named. "The malware itself is actually relatively easy to remove from the machine. For example, if you detect it before attacks have been triggered and encrypted the drive, it's one of the easier pieces of malware to get rid of … But there is still a security issue out there."

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