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Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that his country had nothing to do with the recent global “ransomware” cyber attack that targeted some 150 countries over the weekend.
“Microsoft’s management has made it clear that the virus originated from US intelligence services,” said Putin while addressing reporters in the Chinese capital Beijing on Monday.
Earlier, Microsoft President Brad Smith noted that US intelligence agencies, such as the CIA and National Security Agency (NSA), were to blame for the attack because they stockpiled malicious software code which was used by the hackers.
The NSA claims the software used in the attacks had been stolen from it.
“Once they’re let out of the lamp, genies of this kind … can do damage to their authors and creators,” said Putin. “So this question should be discussed immediately on a serious political level and a defense needs to be worked out from such phenomena,” he added.
Putin went on to stress that Russian institutions were not significantly affected in the attacks.
The Russian president also noted that last year Moscow had called on the US to engage in negotiations about dealing with cyber threats. “Unfortunately, they refused our proposal,” he said.
“The previous administration told us they were interested in reaching back to this proposal again, but nothing was actually done,” he added. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of computer systems across the world were targeted in a cyber attack.
When the ransomware virus infects a computer system, data on that system get encrypted, and images appear on monitors demanding a payment of $300 in the almost untraceable virtual currency Bitcoin.
The payment must be made within three days, otherwise the price would be doubled; and if none is received within seven days, the locked files will be deleted, according to the screen messages.