Think kidnapping, except in digital format and you’ll get what a ransomware is all about.
It’s about holding something hostage and demanding money in exchange for it. In this case, that something is your data.
WannaCrypt Ransomware Makes You Wanna Cry
This was the notification that popped up on the screens of Microsoft computers worldwide.
The ransomware encrypts your files and keeps them out of your reach. It even warns users about the futility of trying to recover your files because you’re on a deadline.
And if that’s not enough, the ransomware even gives you a ‘free trial’ where you can decrypt some of your info for free.
After that, it’ll be $300 in Bitcoins for the encryption key, and double that after 3-days of not paying. After that? You’ll lose the data permanently.
Sounds tame? Not really.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK were hit hard by the virus and had to turn away patients because their systems were shut down.
Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs reported more than 1,000 infections on their systems and Spanish telco Telefonica had to close down its offices for the day after the hit.
WannaCrypt Ransomware in S’pore Too
The ransomware seems to have spread to Singapore too.
This image was taken at Tiong Bahru Plaza and uploaded onto Singapore Cyber Security Enthusiasts Facebook Page on 13 May 2017.
And there’s more.
This was uploaded by another user Vladimir Ivanov on the same day.
Someone commented on the Facebook post and pointed out that more than 10 people have paid the ransom as of 13 May.
A quick click on the link showed about 28 more transactions (payment) have taken place since then.
Yes, that means the person (or people) behind the ransomware has earned $12,000 in less than 2 days.
No wonder people tell you the money’s in IT nowadays… :O
So what can you do?
Just Update Your Computer
That’s right. Just update.
The virus is based on an old bug codenamed Eternalblue which was used by the US’ National Security Agency to hijack and spy on their targets in the past.
The tool was unearthed and released onto the internet by a group of hackers called The Shadow Brokers last year.
The ransomware exploited a networking vulnerability in Microsoft computers but here’s the kicker: Microsoft had released a Windows Update in February this year to fix said vulnerability.
Which I kind of understand because installing window updates is damn slow, and sometimes, it just kind of screwed your computer over.
But this time, you just got to grit your teeth and update.
After the spate of bad news, here are some good ones.
Previous Windows Systems That Microsoft Have Stopped Supporting Are Being Updated As Well
We’re talking Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Embedded; some of these systems are still being used by POS and ATMs.
To check if your system is eligible for download, click here.
Another good news is so far, there were no reports of Windows 10 computers getting infected so far.
Alternatively, Microsoft has also given instructions on how to turn off SMB version one, which is the feature that the ransomware is using to spread across the network.
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