The WannaCry ransomware attack is an ongoing worldwide cyberattack by theWannaCry[a] ransomware cryptoworm, which targets computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in theBitcoin cryptocurrency.
The attack started on Friday, 12 May 2017,and has been described as unprecedented in scale, infecting more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. Parts of Britain’sNational Health Service (NHS), Spain’sTelefónica, FedEx and Deutsche Bahn were hit, along with many other countries and companies worldwide.
WannaCry spreads across local networks and the Internet to systems that have not been updated with recent security updates, to directly infect any exposed systems. To do so it uses the EternalBlue exploitdeveloped by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), which was released byThe Shadow Brokers two months before. A “critical” patch had been issued by Microsofton 14 March 2017 to remove the underlying vulnerability for supported systems, nearly two months before the attack, but many organizations had not yet applied it. Those still running exposed older, unsupportedoperating systems such as Windows XP andWindows Server 2003, were initially at particular risk but the day after the outbreak Microsoft took the unusual step of releasing updates for these operating systems too.Almost all victims are running newer Windows 7.
Shortly after the attack began, a web security researcher who blogs as “MalwareTech” discovered an effective kill switch by registering a domain name he found in the code of the ransomware. This greatly slowed the spread of the infection, but new versions have since been detected that lack the kill switch.
How to protect yourself against WannaCry Ransomware attacks?
1. Don’t open any unidentified email attachment, you don’t know about.
2. If you’re a PC user, install antivirus in your system, paid one, free antivirus have limited functionality.
3. If you’re an Android™ Phone user, I recommend to install McAfee or Avast Antivirus Pro Subscription, as it is regularly updated by the company.
4. Make a backup of your important data in Google Drive™ so that you never get locked of your data.