We have been watching the Goldeneye cyberattack unfold today (Tuesday, 6/27) throughout Europe and in particular in Ukraine. I contacted FintekNews’ amazing IT guy – Michael Fabing of Novusteck, who’s a native of France and fluent in English, French and German – and he assured me we were protected against this particular attack. But just to explain, beyond what you are seeing in the press that seems to be focusing on who is being attacked, rather than how or why it is happening, according to Michael…
“Goldeneye ransomware is a Microsoft Windows virus, it cannot harm any Mac OS X or Linux systems, but all these ransomeware are attacking computers running on top of Windows XP. Windows XP (released in 2001) and versions below that don’t have the latest free security updates. We are talking very old computers, but still in use in administration, and ATMs and so on…
As example, as of May 2017, around 60% of the 220,000 ATMs in India still ran Windows XP…see http://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/wannacry-ransomware-cyber-attack-indian-atms-high-risk-windows-xp/story/252161.html.
In January 2014, it was estimated that more than 95% of the 3 million automated teller machines in the world were still running Windows XP.
After 12 years, support for Windows XP ended April 8, 2014. There will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system. So we are talking about very old “un-updated” computers….
Even for today’s needs, Windows XP would still be fine, so many companies don’t want to pay the license to Microsoft to update to a newer version….”
So, what we are seeing are system vulnerabilities in firms who are still using Windows XP somewhere within their tech stacks, and that includes the National Bank in Ukraine, along with government sites, power companies and more.
Even international shipping giant Maersk has been affected. It really exposes a major digital divide, and to our mind, emphasizes the fact that younger firms – with newer technology and more security measures inherently in place – have distinctive security advantages over older legacy firms and institutions.
Going one step further, it would seem that this would demonstrate to investors that they need to place their money with brokerages, banks and fintechs who can assure them that they have superior cybersecurity measures in place. It’s another WOW “wake up” moment in the world of financial technology and beyond.