In a previous article of mine, I’ve explained how terrible ransomware attacks can be. In that same article, I mentioned the recent popularity that these attacks have seen in the past year or so, with over 600 million attacks in 2016 alone. It was only a matter of time before a breaking point was reached. And that day has come.
On Friday, May 12th, a ransomware attack was executed across the globe. Over 150 countries fell victim to the attack, making it the largest cyberattack in history.
Dubbed “WannaCry,” the attack was far worse than a traditional ransomware attack. Instead of targeting everyday civilians, WannaCry aimed solely for businesses, governments and public services.
In China, several colleges were hit by the attack, locking multiple students out of their computers. Gas stations also fell victim to the attack, shutting down computers and registers, thus forcing customers to use cash. Russia’s Central Bank was also affected by the attack; luckily, sources indicate that customer information has not been accessed. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service probably received the worst of the attack. While representatives of the health service claim that patient information has not been breached, they have admitted to multiple hospitals having had to cancel outpatient appointments.
Even global delivery service company Federal Express (FedEx) has fallen prey to the cyber hackers. While the company claims that they merely suffered minor interference, it is still worrisome to know that an attack of this scale can be executed.
According to a report from Time, the virus was not actually able to lock any computer and demand a ransom before unlocking, however, next time we may not be so lucky.
“We haven’t fully dodged this bullet at all until we’re patched against the vulnerability itself,” said Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of Proofpoint Inc., the company that assisted in ending the attacks.
What makes the situation even more nerve wracking is the lack of a culprit. Obviously, this is an incredibly serious crime, and those responsible should and will face severe consequences. However, until they are found and brought the justice, we must remain vigilant and safe. I cannot overstress the importance of proper malware protection.
I will be sure to update with any developments.