The ransomware attacks target thousands of organizations worldwide. In the past 10 hours, Kaspersky Lab stated that the attacks hit 74 countries.
According to its blog post:
“Currently, we have recorded more than 45,000 attacks of the WannaCry ransomware in 74 countries around the world, mostly in Russia. It’s important to note that our visibility may be limited and incomplete and the range of targets and victims is likely much, much higher.”
What is WannaCry?
If your computer is infected with this ransomware, all your files in there are locked. To bring back your control on them, you need to pay.
The security firms stated that the attack spread because of a Microsoft Windows exploit known as EternalBlue. Microsoft has already released a patch for it in March. However, it’s too late as a hacking group has released the exploit using other spy tools from NSA.
Machines affected by this attack are given six hours to pay. The price increases every few hours. Those owners of the infected computers have already paid the initial ransom of $300.
In the UK, National Health Service organizations are just some of its victims. The Prime Minister of Britain thought that it only targeted hospitals in the UK. But it turned out to be a global attack.
“We are aware that a number of NHS organizations have reported they have suffered from a ransomware attack. This is not targeted at the NHS. It is an international attack. A number of countries and organizations have been affected.” – Theresa May
The attack is going to spread widely, and it’s going to be the biggest cybersecurity incident that we’re going to see and experience.
To prevent your computer from getting infected, make sure to apply the patch released by Microsoft in March and get a trusted anti-ransomware software. However, if your machine has already been infected, there’s nothing you can do about it.
In addition to hospitals, the ransomware may also spread and attack US organizations. When it enters your computer, it scans your files automatically. It can easily spread and infect other computers that are on the same wireless network.
It means that if your computer is infected and you go to a coffee shop, the ransomware would infect other PCs that are connected to the coffee shop’s network. Then, if you go to another shop, it would infect other computers and so on and so forth.
This attack only shows one thing: organizations aren’t updating their computers promptly. However, if your computer is updated, you can be sure that you’re protected from it.
Who made it?
WannaCry’s creator has been confirmed yet. But this kind of worm is a favorite of cyber thieves because they can easily profit from it. When someone pays, they can cash it out quickly through Bitcoin virtual currency. Unfortunately, this type of money is difficult to track.
The infections can’t be stopped quickly. Nonetheless, organizations can protect themselves by setting up anti-virus programs and firewalls. They should also update their computers so hackers and malware can’t infect them.
Then again, there’s no such thing as 100% protection.