More than 1,000 companies around the world have been hit by a ransomware attack

More than 1,000 companies around the world have been hit by a ransomware attack

More than 1

Most of the infected and blocked businesses are in America. A hacker link with Russia is suspected and President Biden has ordered intelligence agencies to investigate

(photo: Unsplash) Over the weekend, more than 1,000 companies around the world were hit by a ransomware attack that crippled their IT systems, US cybersecurity firm Huntress Labs reported. Experts say the breach could prove to be the biggest ransomware attack ever.

On Friday, July 2, hackers breached the servers of Kaseya, an IT services company based in Miami, Florida. Kaseya supplies security software for dozens of large-scale cybersecurity contractors. These in turn sell their security services to thousands of companies around the world.

For this reason the hackers were able to quickly break into the systems of at least 40 cybersecurity contractors and from there they infected hundreds of businesses over the weekend. Most of the affected companies were located in the United States, but the "virus" has also circulated internationally. Swiss Coop had to close 800 stores over the weekend, according to the New York Times, after the attack blocked its cash registers.

Affected companies were asked for a ransom between 500,000 and 5 millions of dollars in exchange for a key to unlock your operations. Cyber ​​security experts quickly blamed the Russian-based hacker group REvil for the attack. This is the gang that a few weeks ago blocked JBS, the largest meat seller in the world, obtaining a ransom of 11 million dollars.

US President Joe Biden announced on Saturday that he had ordered US intelligence agencies to investigate the attack. "We're not sure" who was behind Friday's attack, Biden said. "The initial thought was that it was not the Russian government, but we are not sure yet," said the US president. Biden, however, added that if Russia is found to be the instigator, or was aware of, this attack, the US will respond properly.

John Hammond, Huntress cybersecurity researcher said this " it is a colossal and devastating attack on the supply chain ”. Attacks like this on global supply chains, in which hackers exploit a single piece of software to target hundreds or even thousands of users at once, are fast becoming the cybercriminals' preferred technique.

The attack for this purpose week is indeed just the latest in a recent wave of ransomware attacks. The most important of which led to the closure of the Colonial Pipeline in May, which cut off fuel supplies across the east coast of the United States. Cybercriminals targeted hospitals and other key public infrastructure during the pandemic. In 2020, ransomware attacks increased 715% from the year before, according to an estimate by cybersecurity company Bitdefender.

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More than $13 billion worth of ether has been staked on ethereum 2.0 as momentum builds behind the network overhaul

GettyImages 1228507184Ether is the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network.

Ether holders have 'staked' more than $13 billion worth of the cryptocurrency on the ethereum 2.0 network, as excitement builds around the overhaul of the system and the potential growth of the staking industry.

Network users have now staked more than 6.1 million ether, up from 5.3 million a month earlier. The total value of the staked ether was around $13.52 billion at Monday's price, data from Etherscan showed.

The ethereum blockchain is going through some major changes, collectively known as ethereum 2.0.

At the centre is an overhaul of the way the network is secured and coins are created, from a 'proof-of-work' system to a 'proof-of-stake' system.

Under proof-of-stake, users put forward - or 'stake' - coins as a form of down payment. In return, they gain the right to validate transactions on the network and earn more tokens.

Read more: A crypto VC who made successful early gambles on Chainlink and Synthetix shares his next big under-the-radar bet - and breaks down 2 trends shaping DeFi

JPMorgan said last week that crypto staking could become a $40 billion industry by 2025, thanks in large part to the changes to the ethereum network, which will expand the market massively.

'The opportunities to 'earn' will grow meaningfully with the ethereum merge anticipated for later 2021, which will boost the size of the proof-of-stake ecosystem.'

Ethereum users are almost always required to stake 32 ether before they can become validators on the network and earn coins in return, meaning there were likely more than 190,000 validators as of Monday.

Network developers launched the ethereum 2.0 beacon chain last December, after more than 520,000 ether was deposited. Since then, the amount staked on the chain has grown by more than 10 times.

The plan is that ethereum will become a proof-of-stake network by the end of this year, or in early 2022. Ethereum currently uses the same proof-of-work system as bitcoin, where huge amounts of computing power are required to solve complex puzzles to secure the network and 'mine' new coins.

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