By Shaurya Chandna
On 12th May, a quickly spreading, nasty piece of malware crossed mountains and oceans to infect more than 70,000 machines around the world in a matter of hours. Among those infected were more than a dozen hospitals in England, a telecom in Spain, FedEx’s offices in the United Kingdom, and apparently, the Russian Interior Ministry. Within half a day, there were attacks detected on six continents.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.
What is WannaCry?
WannaCry is a ransomware program which is targeting Microsoft Windows. The first attack took place on 12th May 2017 infecting more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries asking for the payment through bitcoins.
Where did the attack originate?
The hackers seem to have leveraged a Windows vulnerability known as EternalBlue which originated from the US National Security Agency. In March, Microsoft released a patch for this act which is called MS17-010.
How did it spread so fast?
The ransomware is hidden in all kinds of things like PDF’s or Word documents and after one click you have to choose between what is more important to you, your money or data. Over 70% of India’s ATM’s have outdated Microsoft Softwares allowing ‘The Shadow Brokers” (the hacker group which is responsible for WannaCry) to easily hack into the victim’s system.
Impact of Ransomware all over the world
Ransomware not only affects home users, but also businesses. Hundreds of hospitals have had to pay high amounts of money for all of their files. Disney was threatened by these criminals when they were asked for tremendous amount of money in exchange for not leaking their yet to be launched movie, “Pirates of the Carribean 5”. We need to be aware whenever we are using our gadgets so I have listed some ways to save yourself from Ransomware.
- Backup your files.
- Download antivirus softwares.
- Be suspicious of messages, emails and apps.
- Install the latest software updates for your device.
- Never pay the ransom.
The misuse of cyber tech seems to be the latest weapon. However advanced the tech may be there is always a threat of being attacked with malware. If this attack does not succeed, maybe the next one will.