Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

What is WannaCry? Here's how the ransomware software hijacks your computer

What is WannaCry? Here's how the ransomware software hijacks your computer

The way WannaCry has impacted is merely showcasing that are not regularly updated. "But at the same time, I also know that if you're someone who's been affected and you've lost all your children's photographs or you've lost all your data or you lost your thesis, sometimes $300 is worth it, you know?"

The WannaCry malware has been found throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Several British hospitals say they are having major computer problems Hospitals in London, northwest England and other parts of the country are reporting problems with their computer systems as the result of an apparent cyberattack.

In the United Kingdom, hospitals were crippled by the cyberattack, which forced operations to be canceled and ambulances to be diverted.

Experts have warned that new versions of the virus could emerge and urged organizations to update older Windows software with a patch released by Microsoft to limit vulnerability to future attacks. The WannaCry attack surfaced on May 12.

"The growth rate of infected institutions on Monday has slowed significantly compared to the previous two days", said Chinese Internet security company Qihoo 360. In Britain, whose health service was among the first high-profile targets of the online extortion scheme, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said "we have not seen a second wave of attacks".

As of 1400 GMT, the total value of funds paid into anonymous bitcoin wallets the hackers are using stood at just $55,169, from 209 payments, according to calculations made by Reuters using publicly available data. Conversely, the fact is that while Microsoft developed patches to address this vulnerability for versions of Windows including WinXP, Server 2003, and Windows 8 RT back in March, they did not release the patches for legacy OSes until the outbreak was well underway.

The WannaCry virus has only been known to infect computers running Windows.

Windows 10 is Microsoft's flagship operating system and because of that, it gets a lot of attention.

Patching and System Updates.

The so-called WannaCry cyberattack has affected hundreds of thousands of computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Windows XP software, creating havoc around the world.

It should be noted that Microsoft makes it clear that when an older operating system reaches end-of-life, it no longer receives free support. Ideally, this data should be kept on a separate device, and backups should be stored offline. Ransomware can not encrypt what it can not access. First, don't click on any dubious links or open email attachments unless you're certain of where they came from. However, not everyone has installed the patch yet, and those who have not are vulnerable to WannaCry.

If you have not conducted a comprehensive security assessment, now would be a good time to begin.

However, MalwareTech added, the kill switch that was activated doesn't prevent the actors responsible for the ransomware from removing the domain check in their code and re-launching an attack, "so it's incredibly important that any unpatched systems are patched as quickly as possible".

Cluley said yesterday's attack also highlighted the risks that organizations take by not investing in updated IT systems and security.

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