By now most of us are aware of the WannaCry ransomware hack either by news report, spoken words or in the worst case scenario a hands on experience. The hack was reported to have begun on the 12th of May 2017 and has affected as many(or more than) as 230000 systems in over 150 countries. WannaCry particularly targets “exposed” or unprotected systems especially those running older versions of the Windows operating system. Examples of such are Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP), to handle this issue Microsoft made a security update available for customers running their older operating systems.
What is Ransomware?
Before going forward, we must understand the concept of ransomware. Ransomware or Cryptoviral Extortion as it was originally called is any software that after being installed in a system moves on to encrypt the files within it until a set amount of money stated is paid, WannaCry is the most recent in a line of notable ransomware starting from an attack by a Trojan named Reveton. Experts estimate the total prospective amount WannaCry could make if demands are met would be in billions of dollars.
Recently, the attacks were stopped (or rather temporarily halted) by a young cyber security researcher in the UK who discovered a “kill switch” that was hidden in the code, the kill switch turned out to be a domain name which wasn’t registered or owned by anyone and decided to purchase it for the sake of monitoring the code. Instead the purchase stopped the ransomware dead in its tracks, the domain was apparently added as a way for the coders/programmers of the program to stop the its spread and though the program can still be modified by hackers and re-used, this has greatly slowed down the spread of WannaCry.
Are you still running an older version of the Windows OS? Follow any of these links to purchase the latest version: