Ransomware Has Become an Enormous Problem

Over the past few years, ransomware has become an enormous problem throughout the United States and abroad. It is also a unique problem that is far different from other types of computer viruses. Unlike other malicious software, ransomware is specifically designed with the intent of forcing the victim to hand over their money. On May the 12th, the world was hit with a cyber-attack unlike anything it had ever seen before. The primary weapon of the attack was the WannaCry ransomware. On the Friday of the attack, the nefarious software infected an estimated 230,000 computers in more than 150 countries.

 

Affected by These Attacks are Groups like The National Health Service in Britain

Of course, most onlookers were more surprised by the groups that fell victim to the attack. The National Health Service in Britain experienced major disruptions. Simultaneously, Deutsche Bahn, Telefonica and even FedEx became victims of the hackers. When these companies found out they have fallen prey to the hackers, they received a warning screen on their computers demanding ransom ranging in price from 300 to 600 dollars. All of the files on the computers were encrypted. While workarounds were eventually discovered, it was originally believed that paying the extortion money was the only way to obtain the decryption code to unlock their files.

A Lasting Impression left Behind.

While the WannaCry ransomware attack has ended, it has undeniably left a lasting impression behind. For starters, the vulnerability, which allowed hackers to install the malicious software on the victims’ computers, was previously identified and utilized by the United States National Security Agency. The NSA used the vulnerability to their advantage and did not alert Microsoft. A hacking collective, The Shadow Brokers, gained access to the NSA’s tools and documents late last year. Originally, the group attempted to auction off the tools used by the NSA. Microsoft became aware of the problem after leaks from the hacking group. This gave the technology company plenty of time to release patches, but obviously not everyone installed the patch in time.

The Impact

After the attack, Kaspersky Lab analyzed the impact and confirmed that Russia, India, Ukraine, and Taiwan were hit harder than other companies. However, the National Health Service were disrupted the most. Vape technology, tablets and smartphones were generally invulnerable to the attack. In fact, it only impacted older Windows computers that had not been upgraded to the Windows 10 operating system and the latest patch. While experts concur that the impact of the attack was relatively low, it could be a sign of things to come in the near future.

For instance, security experts agree that the results could be far direr had the attacked targeted something more dangerous, such as nuclear power plants or railway systems. At the end of the day, WannaCry might be finished, but it could easily return in the future. The Wall Street Journal and others believe the attack could be linked to North Korea. Whether or not that is true, one thing is certain. Cyber security firms will need to take steps to address these security risks and flaws as quickly as possible. Failing to do so could result in something far worse in the future.

 

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