Daily Report: A Crusader Against a Severe, Previously Unseen Cyberattack


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Golan Ben-Oni, of the IDT Corporation, which was attacked in April with two cyberweapons stolen from the National Security Agency.

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Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

Just when you think that cybersecurity hacking cannot grow worse, it does.

Golan Ben-Oni found this out firsthand. Mr. Ben-Oni is the global chief information officer of IDT Corporation, a conglomerate in Newark, that was subjected in April to an attack using cyberweapons that had been stolen from the National Security Agency. It was like nothing he had ever seen.

The hackers locked up IDT data and demanded a ransom. That’s similar to WannaCry, a ransomware attack that struck hospitals and other organizations across the world in May. But the hacking that Mr. Ben-Oni experienced went a step further: The ransom demand was a smoke screen for a more invasive attack to steal employee credentials, information that would have allowed the hackers to roam freely through IDT’s systems.

All of this is chronicled in a gripping tale about Mr. Ben-Oni’s predicament by Nicole Perlroth, a technology reporter for The New York Times, who reported the previously unseen attack for the first time. Mr. Ben-Oni has continued to hunt for the intruders.

The worst news? He’s convinced that many other computer systems around the globe have been hit by the same kind of attack he saw. It’s just that the attacks weren’t detected or understood — which increases the risk.

“You can’t catch it, and it’s happening right under our noses,” Mr. Ben-Oni told Ms. Perlroth. “The world isn’t ready for this.”

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