The world has just seen its largest ransomware cyber attack in history. 45,000 computers across 74 countries became victims of a malicious worm called WCry or to be precise the wannacry ransomeware worm believed to have been created by tools developed by the National US Security Agency. It has crippled the NHS crippled computers in almost 100 countries and hit FEDEX especially hard.
The latest tally set by cyber security software maker Awast was 57,000 infections in 99 countries. Cybersecurity company F-Secure’s chief research officer Mikko Hypponen called it “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.” The Wcry ransomware officially called WanaCrypt0r 2.0 has been delivered disguised as emails tricking recipients into opening attachments and releasing malware into their software system through Phishing.
1How is wannacry ransomware affecting computers worldwide?
The latest ransomeware attack WCry is locking up computer systems across countries and demanding bitcoin payments for re access. In fact it is so malicious that there are no guarantees that access will be granted even after payments. More money may be demanded under threat of a complete deletion of the entire system. The attackers demand upto $300 with messages saying “Ooops, your files have been encrypted!” If you don’t pay in 3 days, the amount is doubled. If no payment is received in 7 days, the files are deleted.
The Wannacry ransomeware has exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft which had released a patch for fixing it in March(some fix). As people are prone to delaying such things, it makes it easier for hackers to attack a system. There is a possibility of removing the virus through advanced and sophisticated antivirus systems or through the computers safe mode but one has to manually remove the files.
2Who was affected?
Britain has been hit the worse where the National Health Service was virtually crippled. Staff was made to resort to pen and paper for work as all key systems and even telephones have been attacked. People are being advised to seek medical care only if it’s an emergency. The prime targets were Britain, Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. Russia has also confirmed it has been affected badly by the cyber attack.
Countries like India have not appeared to be affected although one never knows what may transpire next. Several systems such as XPO are still in use and especially prone to such attacks. A massive cyber attack on the level of the present ransomeware could potentially cripple the country and the government. FedEX Corp was one of the high profile victims while Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica was also one of the targets. Telefonica Portugal and Telefonica Argentina have also been attacked.