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WannaCry/WannaCrypt cyber attack worsen, affects 150 countries

cjmagowan  —  2 years ago ( May 15, 2017 )    |    News

WannaCry is the latest computer worm that targets vulnerable Windows XP machines. The rogue application that carries the worm is known as ransomware which was first released on Friday last week that affected the National Health System (NHS) in the UK, Renault, FedEx, Deutsche Bahn, LATAM Airlines, Telefonica and other major businesses in Spain. The attack is one of the few cyber attacks in recent history, but this incident is far worst than previous attacks and has gone into a massive scale as described by Europol.

It affected thousands of computers in 150 countries around the world over the weekend and is feared to rise as people returns to work on monday. The rogue application hijacks the infected computer and encrypt their contents, shortly after, a window would pop-up on the screen (similar above) demanding payments from users to restore their system using bitcoin. What’s worst and alarming is that, it also shows a countdown timer where users are reminded about the risks if they wouldn’t act.

Cyber Security companies and agencies are on high alert as we may have a second wave of attack this week. Security expert that goes by the handle as MalwareTech slowed the attack after it discovered a flaw in ransomware’s code in which it accidentally found the kill switch of the rogue app by registering a domain name from the line of code on the malware. However, he warned that a version 2.0 of the malware could have the flaw fixed and it may and will resume its havoc on other vulnerable computers.

As feared by security experts, researchers now found two variants of the ramsonware in which the first one was already stopped but the second version as MalwareTech predicted, no longer comes with the flaw the first one has, but researchers pointed out that while the second variant has the same properties as the first one but it’s only working partially at this point.

Microsoft immediately addressed the problem by releasing an emergency security patch to all affected versions of Windows including the unsupported and the primary target of the malware Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems. If you are one of those who are still in older versions of Windows, you should install the patch as soon as possible from here as the attack may cycle back when everyone’s guard subsides or if those unpatched systems is still in use and online.