FBI Warns That Malware Attacks Could Rise Following Sony Hack

It would seem that the ones responsible for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment in a massive ransomware attack weren't just a bunch of script kiddies hiding out in a basement somewhere. That wasn't really a prevailing theory anyway, but lest there's any doubt about the seriousness of the security breach, the FBI is now warning businesses in the U.S. to be on high alert for signs of the same malicious software.

The warning came by way of a five-page, confidential document provided to businesses late last night. It contained technical details about the newest malware threat, along with tips on how to respond. It also urged businesses to contact the FBI right way if they encounter similar malware.

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It's a particularly nasty piece of malicious software that the FBI is concerned about. It overrides data on hard drives, even the master boot record, preventing them from booting up. The report said these characteristics make it "extremely difficult and costly," and in some cases "impossible" to attempt data recovery using tried and true forensic procedures.

Cybersecurity experts consider the security breach at Sony to be the first major destructive cyber attack waged against a company in the U.S. Similar attacks have been conducted in Asia and the Middle East, though none have ever been reported in the U.S., Reuters reports.

Following the attack, Sony enlisted the help of a forensics firm to assess the damage and called upon the FBI to look into the matter. The good news for Sony is that it's been able to restore "a number of important services," whereas the attack initially forced employees to have to shut down their machines and resort to pen and paper to get work done.