Table of contents
- What is EternalBlue?
- How was EternalBlue developed?
- How widespread is Eternalblue?
- How does EternalBlue work?
- The role of EternalBlue in cyberattacks
- Is EternalBlue still out there?
- How to protect against EternalBlue?
- Protect your devices against viruses and malware
What is EternalBlue?
EternalBlue is a Windows exploit that targets Microsoft devices running the following operating systems:
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- Windows 8.1
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows XP
- Windows 10
- Windows Server 2012
- Windows Server 2003.
The National Security Database has logged EternalBlue as CVE-2017-0144 under Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures.
What are exploits?
They’re malicious codes and programs used to take advantage of a Windows vulnerability or security flaw. In simpler terms, exploits are tools that can help facilitate cyberattacks.
EternalBlue was later used in other attacks, including WannaCry and Petya, which we’ll discuss later. Exploits like EternalBlue can only gain entry into a system if its security has been compromised. That’s why it’s essential to keep your security airtight. The most effective to achieve this is with an effective antivirus tool.
How was EternalBlue developed?
EternalBlue can be explained as a product of the US National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA created and used EternalBlue without detection in the Microsoft Windows operating system throughout the course of five years before reporting it to the tech company in 2017.
The NSA had no choice but to respond by reporting the EternalBlue exploit after the Shadow Brokers, a group of hackers. learned about it when it hacked the NSA’s cyber weapons. The group exposed the NSA by publishing EternalBlue online, thereby forcing the NSA to acknowledge it.
How widespread is Eternalblue?
Microsoft eventually released the MS17-010 update to patch the security flaw that made way for EternalBlue in its operating systems. But even though a patch was released, there are approximately a million machines still affected by the exploit globally. That’s probably because Microsoft only patched the flaw five years after the NSA created EternalBlue, and not all users updated their operating system at the time.
Not updating your system makes you vulnerable to attacks. Update your system as soon as possible to prevent falling victim to a malware attack.
How does EternalBlue work?
EternalBlue takes advantage of the Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol or SMBv1 flaw in older versions of Microsoft’s operating systems. It compromises the communication between a client and server by allowing unauthorized data packets into the network. It sends malicious packets to deliver malware to the server, resulting in a cyberattack. Hackers can also use an NSA-linked backdoor, DoublePulsar, in a malware attack.
The role of EternalBlue in cyberattacks
EternalBlue has been used as a platform to implement many cyberattacks, but WannaCry and Petya will go down in history as the most notable.
WannaCry was a ransomware attack deployed globally on May 17, 2017, affecting 10,000 devices per hour. So large-scale was this deployment that WannaCry is said to have infected 230,000 personal desktop computers in 150 countries in one day. Victims were spread across industries, with major enterprises like FedEx, Nissan, Renault, and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) being hit. WannaCry is believed to be the brainchild of North Korea. As you can imagine, the damage is estimated to be in the millions.
NotPetya is a worm used for a ransomware campaign initially deployed under the name Petya in 2016. It was released again, shortly after WannaCry, on June 27, 2017, to a better reception than before — possibly due to the success of WannaCry. NotPetya targeted large and state-owned Ukrainian organizations, including banks, government bodies, airports, railways, and many more. Given that Ukraine was singled out in this attack, Russia is suspected to be behind it. However, Russia has denied having anything to do with NotPetya.
Virus vs worm — both are types of malware, but what’s the difference?
- A computer virus replicates itself by attaching to other files on a device or network when opened by a user
- A computer worm self-replicates to spread across various devices without human interaction.
Is EternalBlue still out there?
Yes. Companies and users that didn’t update affected operating systems or upgrade their hardware could be victims of attacks powered by EternalBlue.
How to protect against EternalBlue?
If you’re worried about your device being targeted via EternalBlue, there are measures you can take to protect it.
- Use Microsoft’s MS17-010 patch to close any gaps in your device’s security
- Always update to the latest operating software to ensure any bugs and flaws are fixed
- Use antivirus software to keep your device protected 24/7
- Exercise vigilance: never open links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious senders
- Use the flaw checker, Metasploit, to find weaknesses in your security defenses.
Protect your devices against viruses and malware
EternalBlue made way for multiple cyberattacks, like WannaCry and NotPetya, which can compromise your privacy. Although Microsoft has since released a patch for the EternalBlue vulnerability, millions of devices could be attacked if users failed to update their operating systems.
Don’t take any chances — update your hardware and operating system to stay safe. This will fix any known bugs and patch vulnerabilities, thereby securing your computer. Strengthen your computer’s defenses by using Clario, the anti-spy app trusted by many. Clario’s suite of tools help protect your personal information against anyone trying to track you, so you can use the internet safely and securely.