Wannacry Ransomware — The Biggest Worldwide Cyber Attack In The History?

The world witnessed a Tsunami of cyber attacks on Friday when the leaked confidential documents of the NSA of the United States exposed some massive internal flaws. The hackers were quick to exploit the flaws exposed, and within a few hours, as many as 150 countries worldwide were hit by Ransomware attack. Ransomware attack is a technique commonly used by the hackers of the terrorist groups. They take possession of confidential files or lock the file accessing system and then demand money from the victim to restore back the system and return the file.

The Updates On The Cyber Attack Worldwide

The world’s leading security software company Kaspersky reported that their researchers have detected over 45,000 attacks across 75 countries. Later, their rival Avast reported that they have detected over 75,000 attacks across 99 countries. Some of the biggest international companies were hit by the malware named WCry or WannaCry. FedEx, Spanish Giant Telefonica, UK’s NHS were all victims of the malware attack.

It is believed that the hacking group named Shadow Brokers is behind the attacks as they claimed in April that they had broken into NSA’s firewall and got possession of important files. On the social media, it was posted that the hackers are demanding $300 worth of BitCoin from each victim which is quite nominal given their wide range of attacks.

The malware is spreading through emails where a malicious attachment is provided which upon downloading gets stored in the computer and multiples itself. It is also spreading from computer to computer and via local networks. Antivirus companies have released updates to detect such malware in emails and computers.

It is also reported that the confidential files that got leaked and are the source of this attack actually contained a flaw about Microsoft Windows. Even though Microsoft had released a security patch, but most of the computers running on Windows are yet to extract the patch and update their system. This is one of the main reasons why the malware has been super successful.

Though the origin of the malware has not yet been confirmed but information from Kaspersky and Symantec show that North Korea has some wicked links to it. Given the current scenario of tensed environment between the US and North Korea, it is quite logical to suspect North Korea behind the attack. Some evidences have been found that show some similarities in coding style of the infamous Lazarus group which helps North Korea in hacking activities. It is quite coincidental with the fact that just one day ago, the US President Donald Trump ordered review on the cyber protection of government agencies.

The latest report reveals that the malware has infected over a quarter of a million computers across 150 countries. A gross estimation data reveal that the hacker group has already collected over $70,000 from thousands of users whose data and files were locked by the hackers.

Impact Of WannaCry Ransomware

The worst impact of this malware attack has been felt by the hospitals whose important files about the conditions and medical history of the critical patients were locked. They had to pay the demanded money immediately in BitCoin to get the files released.

Several automated machines like ATMs have been ordered to be shut down indefinitely. Microsoft is offering free fixes for all the companies around the world and asking users to upgrade their system with the latest security patch.

The demand for latest antivirus software has increased massively. At the same time, the sale figure of external storage devices has reached a new peak. People are taking backup of their database in offline mode so that in the case of attack, they could wait out for Microsoft or other cyber security agency to recover the files and remove the malware smoothly. The demand for Windows 10 latest version has increased as it was reported that computer with older versions of Windows like XP, 7, Server 2008 are getting hit rapidly.

Among the worst hit country, Russia, US, Ukraine, Taiwan, and India are leading from the front. The malware is available in 28 different languages, and this is what trapping the local people easily and they are clicking on the attachments of the email.

It is reported that the attacks have stopped because of the accidental activation of the kill switch in the malware by a cyber security researcher. But the demand for ransom is still on even though the spread has stopped for now.

Check out the Wikipedia WannaCry ransomware attack — Wikipedia

Originally published at blogmart.org on May 17, 2017.