The world is witnessing a major ransomware attack since Friday, leaving millions of users teary around the globe. The ransomware attack popularly known as WannaCry ransomware attack affected several organizations in several countries. It also gave a clear threatening about how our digital devices are prone and vulnerable to Ransomware attacks.
Unlike malicious infections that either steals or simply deletes information from a computer, Ransomware is a kind of cyber-attack. In ransomware attacks hackers snatch away the control of the computer system and do not allow users to access any kind of information until a ransom is paid to the hackers. Ransomware achieves this by encrypting or locking the computer data and make the data, software and apps inaccessible from running.
Also, referred to as wcry, wannaCry is a heinous malware which locks a computer system leaving behind just two files. One holding the instructions on what to do next and the other being the Wanna Encryptor itself.
Once the software is accessed it informs the computer user that his/her computer has been hacked and that all the information has been encrypted. Users are then demanded a ransom in return, which if not paid deletes all the data and information. The ransom is demanded in the form of Bitcoin in exchange for unlocking the files.
WannaCry gives you 3 days time to pay the ransom, which if not paid gets doubled. Even more threatening is that it starts deleting your information if you do not pay the ransom in 7 days.
WannaCry has reportedly attacked masses all over the world exploiting vulnerability in older Windows version like Windows XP, 8, 2000. The Ransomware attack is said to have affected almost 200,000 machines across 150 countries including the U.K.’s National Health Service, China’s National Petroleum Corporation, and Renault factories in France.
Until now the only rescue point provided by Windows is its new security update. Users running an older version of Windows like XP, Server 2003 are highly recommended to install and run the update with administrative rights. However, one should also be careful while opening attachments from unknown sources.
One of the major things to be afraid of is that it spreads over local networks without user interaction.
It has also been suggested by some authorities — including Indonesian’s government — that the machines should be disconnected from the Internet.
Not at all. It is said that some technical researcher discovered a switch capable of stopping ransomware from spreading, however, the same is true to some extent only. The kill switch though succeeded in slowing down the threat but it only stopped a few ways the malware could spread. Per Kaspersky Lab security researchers, it was confirmed that within hours’ new versions of the malware were detected which were not stopped by the kill switch. Experts are expecting a new wave of infections as soon as Monday.
As of now No. Though security firms are striving to develop decryptors capable of decrypting files from WannaCry ransomware attacks, they have succeeded only partially. Also, do not get tricked twice. Hackers do not promise of a WannaCrypt fix as bait for further infections, so don’t get easily convinced.
Having said that, there is one bitter option here: pay the ransom WannaCry demands $300 in Bitcoin to decrypt files, and hackers have historically proven remarkably trustworthy in accomplishing their end of that bargain.
Keep yourself well educated about the latest protection techniques that may safe you both your precious information and money.