Report: BDL Suspends Electronic Transactions after Global Cyberattck


The cyberattack that took computer files hostage around the world compelled Lebanon's central bank (Banque Du Liban) on Monday to temporarily suspend electronic transactions as a precaution, media reports said on Tuesday.

Al-Joumhouria daily said the cyberattack has failed after thorough measures taken by the central bank. But, it is not yet clear whether BDL will resume its normal activity on Tuesday, or whether freezing its electronic activity and related operations will last longer, it said.

The global cyberattack appeared to slow on Monday as authorities worked to catch the extortionists behind it.

Thousands more infections were reported with the start of the workweek, largely in Asia, which had been closed for business when the "ransomware" locked up computers Friday at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses.

Security researchers in the meantime have been disassembling the malicious software, known as WannaCry, in hopes of uncovering clues to who released it. They are doing the same with the "phishing" emails that helped the ransomware embed itself in computers.

Investigators also hope to learn more by examining ransom payments made by computer users via bitcoin, the hard-to-trace digital currency often used by criminals.

WannaCry paralyzed computers running mostly older versions of Microsoft Windows in some 150 countries. It encrypted users' computer files and displayed a message demanding anywhere from $300 to $600 to release them; failure to pay would leave the data mangled and likely beyond repair.

A cybersecurity researcher in Britain managed to slow down its spread by activating the software's "kill switch," but there were fears that the cybercriminals would release even more malicious versions.

Steve Grobman of the security company McAfee said forensics experts are looking at how the ransomware was written and how it was run. WannaCry is a sophisticated piece of work, he said, which helps rule out the possibility it was released by mere pranksters or lower-level thieves.

As for anonymous bitcoin transactions, he said, it is sometimes possible to follow them until an identifiable person is found.

Experts urged organizations and companies to immediately update older Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows XP, with a patch released by the company.