WannaCry Infects Computers Worldwide
WannaCry infects at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries – this was reported yesterday. In order for a computer to be restored a ransom of $300 (paid in Bitcoin, the virtual currency) was demanded. Officials say the threat is not yet over although it has slowed.
The UK had 48 National Health trusts hit by the cyber-attack which left hospitals and doctors unable to access patient date. This led to the cancellation of operations as well as medical appointments.
WannaCry Infects Other Countries’ Computers
In the United States, FedEx, the delivery company was attacked; in France, Renault factories had to stop production after their computers were infected; Russia’s interior ministry reported that 1,000 of its computers were infected. Many other computers, in other countries were also infected.
It has been determined that the infections were spread via a worm. This allows the virus to spread by itself between computers. This is different from other programs that rely on humans to spread the virus by tricking them into clicking on an attachment which harbors and attack code. WannaCry, once it is inside an organization, will hunt down vulnerable machines and infect them also.
It is not definitely known who is behind the attack. However, the tools used to carry it out are believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA). It was originally developed with the intent to exploit a weakness found in Microsoft’s Windows system.
The information was originally stolen by a group of hackers known at The Shadow Brokers. They made it available, for free, in April. They said it was a “protest” against President Donald Trump.
It has been announced that the number of infections is slowing down after a “kill switch” was triggered by a UK-based cyber security researcher tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog. In an interview he warned that it was only a temporary fix. He said, “It is very important that people patch their systems now because there will be another one coming and it will not be stoppable by us.”