Dozens of countries have been targeted with the ‘biggest ransomware outbreak in history’. It has hit many hospitals, schools, businesses, government agencies and personal devices. This vulnerability in the Windows is believed to be first developed by the NSA and was found in a secret server by a hacking group called Shadow Brokers last month. This ransomware has affected many major companies such as FedEx, the UK National Health Service and Telefonica in Spain.
What is this and what does it do?
The ransomware worm named ‘WannaCry’, encrypts all your files on your computer so you can’t use them anymore. There are no traces of the decryption key inside the computer since it takes all the evidence that could be used to unlock the files. To retrieve your files, WannaCry asks for Bitcoin equivalent to $300 USD for a decryption key. After 3 days, the amount will double to $600 USD in Bitcoin currency. After 7 days, you will lose all your files forever. After paying the money, there is no guarantee you will be receiving a decryption key and unlike Paypal, there are no refunds in Bitcoin so why would they bother sending you the decryption key? In my opinion, money is better spent buying a new computer. Though, if you are desperate, you can try but there is a very little chance. Top countries to be targeted were Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.
Has this been stopped?
It has indeed been stopped. MalwareTech had been analysing the ransomware and found a completely random killswitch domain. The domain was iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com. He promptly bought and registered the domain which killed the ransomware. This means that all devices can’t get the ransomware anymore since it has been killed. That is, until they change the code to something else or completely remove it which is quite easy. All affected devices, though, are still affected and all files are still encrypted.
How do I protect myself?
- Update your Windows (Microsoft released a patch for this since March. Microsoft was nice enough to even patch Windows XP and Server 2003 to help people to not stress about updating.)
- Don’t click links from anyone you don’t know
- Install anti-virus
- Regularly back up files
Have you or someone been affected by WannaCry or another ransomware? Please let us know in the comments and PLEASE do not forget to update your computer.