Help! Help! SOS SOS! The digital world has been crying out for help since Friday. Even though it was a weekend, when most of the devices stayed unplugged, the impact is unprecedented. And here’s all that you must know about this ransomware - Wannacry.
Firstly, what’s a ransomware? It is basically a malware that will completely bring you down on your digital knees and make you beg for mercy from the perpetrators. Okay now let me begin the show!!
Wannacry is a malware, a sort of cryptolocker infecting computers globally. Although no data is present but experts say, close to 200,000 computers have been infected across 100 countries since Friday when this locky virus first hit the world. This number can double when world goes to business on Monday. This ransom virus is spreading like a deadly digital epidemic.
2. Why are we calling it a Ransomware? Once infected, the computer locks the screen and asks for Ransom of 300-600 bitcoins. Which means a minimum hit of 510,00 to a 1 Million USD are needed for this ransomeware removal. Are you kidding me??
3. Microsoft: Well, it has a big Microsoft twist to the tale. This ransomware uses a Microsoft vulnerability called Eternal Blue (exposed by hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers). The patch for the same was released in March by Microsoft but only for the Operating systems that the company support. The point to be noted is that the old systems like XP are not on the support list.
4. How it spreads: this Cryptolocker mostly spreads through spam emails that appear to contain security warnings, job offers, invoices and other legitimate files.
5. How does it impact: The cryptolocker virus locks the files and locks the data on the computer. They ask for ransom for cryptolocker removal from the computer. Hence, it’s also called #ransomware
6. Countries worst hit: Russia is worst hit with more than 50% of the infected computers. Also, UK is badly affected as the NHS (National Health System) – the govt. health care provider is unable to book appointments, putting public healthcare in jeopardy.
7. US connection: Hackers reportedly used hacking tools known NSA (National Security Agency of the USA) for the attack. As per reports, NSA knew about the tools and vulnerability but never informed public till it came in public domain and was exploited by hackers.
8. Stopping: Update your computer and don’t click any suspicious email links. And most importantly, take a backup of your computer on regular basis. Also, make sure you have a good anti-virus and anti-ransomware software protecting your system.
9. Impact map of WannaCry Ransomware: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyErffRX0HM
10. It’s important to know that right now this ransomware is only affecting machines running on outdated Windows OS. However, experts believe, as the world goes to business on Monday, this malicious locky virus might get an upgrade an start affecting systems running on other OS as well.
11. IOT Vulnerability: World is heading for smart city where IOT will automate people lives with smart homes to smart water to smart healthcare. This ransomware epidemic opens up whole new debate on security and data protection.