Read this article if you don’t want to cry!
If you want to cry, don’t worry! The new ransomware ‘WannaCry’ is there to make you cry. WannaCry began invading the computers in May 2017. It affected about 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The hackers hack data from one’s computer and demand $300. I.e. the data encrypted by WannaCry cannot be unlocked unless you pay $300. If someone is not willing to pay this amount, his/her data is lost forever.
The most worrisome thing is that WannaCry is extremely contagious: it spreads rapidly from PC to PC. A very important precautionary measure that the companies need to take is to back their data up or it may be lost forever. The IT experts believe that WannaCry attack was a precursor to a new hacking era.
Although IT experts are trying their best to counter this threat, yet they have not found out a complete solution to this problem. The top legal officer at Microsoft called the WannaCry attack a “WakeUp Call”. The virus affects older systems—such as the ones still using Windows XP—the most. This is why organizations have been advised to get their systems updated as soon as possible to remain safe. It is further advised—especially to Windows users—not to open any email which has nothing to do with your work for this virus may be spread through infected emails.
Majority of the people, including me, believe that this malware—though has been temporarily suppressed—has completely exposed flaws in our security systems. Furthermore, it has exposed our dependence on machines. The most alarming thing is that such viruses not only impact an ordinary organization, but can also impact national security in the future. Afterall, who knows that in future such hackers will be able to hack the general elections, especially in poor countries where IT experts are not paid much and cybersecurity is not taken care of at all. And who knows that these hackers will demand millions of dollars in future.
For protection of older versions of Windows such as Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, Microsoft has recently released some special patches. Phillip Misner, the security group manager at Microsoft said, “Seeing businesses and individuals affected by cyberattacks, such as the ones reported today, was painful”.
The good news is that a 22-year-old British researcher has found a kill switch hidden in the computer worm. And the bad news is that many IT security experts believe that the hackers will release—or already have released—a newer version of the malware.
The kill switch was found only for the ‘spreader’ part of the ransomware, which may only help stop the further spread of the virus. No solution has yet been found for the actual ransomware.
According to a blogger who is a keen observer of this whole situation, states that majority of the affected people/computers belong to those/the countries where the pirated software are used the most. According to a survey conducted by The Software Alliance last year, 70 percent of computer users in China are running unlicensed software. As a result, Russia and China were affected the most. Even in India, a lot of computers have got affected from/due to this virus.