This weekend there has been a global cyber attack, dubbed WannaCry virus. At least 150 countries have reported cases of it and over 200.000 computers have been affected since this weekend.
Right now I do my internship in an IT support company where the telephone is ringing constantly and our mailboxes are overflowing with mails from people who have been hit by it. So I kinda feel obliged to inform you guys of it and what it could do to you.
What is it?
This virus is not a virus that you can just run your anti-virus or anti-malware program on and quarantine it. Most virusses download dangerous programs on your computer or record your actions to get access to your personal data. But this virus is of another kind, because the attackers have no interest in your data, they just want to make easy money.
They do this by making use of ransomware or more specifically a cryptolocker. A cryptolocker encrypts all your data and files on your computer and connected devices, which means you cannot access those files anymore and use them. Unless you got the decryption key.
To get that decryption key, the cyber attackers ask you to pay $300, but there is no guarantee that you’ll actually get the decrypt key and get your files back.
There is not real remedy.
Once you get a cryptolocker in your system, you are screwed, unless you have backups and these backups are not connected to your system. (offline backups or in another domain)
Anybody can be a target, but right now the big ones are companies who have older systems like Windows XP, because they don’t have the same security measures as the newer systems. Now you might think: ‘Who still has Windows XP?’ Well, hospitals for example. They still use software that is made for their machinery and hasn’t been updated to newer versions. So if they get one in their system, people who rely on these machines can actually die.
Under the readmore I added some tips to prevent them and in case you really get one.