The WannaCry ransomeware attack is an ongoing global cyber attack which hit the scene since Friday 12th May, 2017 targeting the microsoft windows operating system encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
The WannaCrypt exploits used in the attack were drawn from the exploits stolen from the National Security Agency," Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith says. He says that when the NSA lost control of the software behind the cyber attack, it was like "the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen."
Over 230,000 computers been infected in more than 150 countries with Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan leading the list of worst hit countries and parts of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), Spain’s Telefónica, FedEx, Deutsche Bahn, and LATAM Airlines leading the list of worst hit organizations.
A click bait is sent through mail to unsuspected persons who clicks and download a type of malicious software onto a device within the network, this gives the hackers the needed access launch an attack that locks all files it can find within a network. This tends to be a gradual process with files being encrypted one after another.
Windows users should update their software to avoid the ransomware, security experts say.
In addition to Microsoft’s Security Bulletin MS17-010 that patched the vulnerability in March, the company also issued a separate patch on Friday for users of older and unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP.
Victims are advised to never pay the ransom as it encourages the attackers. Even if victims do pay there is also no guarantee that all files will be returned to them in tact.
Back up your computer and store the safety version in the cloud or on a drive that is not connected to your computer,
- Use robust antivirus software.
- Keep all the software on your computer up-to-date. Enable automatic updates.
- Never open attachments in emails from someone you don’t know. And remember that any account can be compromised.
- Enable the “Show file extensions” option in the Windows settings on your computer. This will make it much easier to spot potentially malicious files. Stay away from file extensions like “.exe,” “.vbs” and “.scr.”
- If you find a problem, disconnect your machine immediately from the Internet or other network connections (such as home Wi-Fi).