A ransomware attack is quickly spreading across the globe rendering vital systems inaccessible.
Friday morning, the Twitter account MalwareHunterTeam reported ransomware known as WanaCrypt0r (a WannaCry variant) spreading at an alarming rate. “In less than 3 hours (even can say less than 2 hours if we count it from the explosion), they got victims already from 11 countries.”
Approximately 6 hours later, at 1pm ET, Kaspersky Lab reported more than 45,000 attacks in 74 countries. “Number still growing fast,” tweeted Costin Raiu, director of global research for the Moscow-based security firm.
Update: There is a patch for this exploit—see the bottom of the post for instructions.
Russia, Taiwan and Spain appear to be those initially hit the hardest, but a map of the infections generated by MalwareTech show the ransomware spreading to all populated continents, and numerous reports from security researchers indicate that WanaCrypt0r has also found its way into the US.
An initial report from UK-based MalwareTech researcher indicate that the ransomware was spreading peer-to-peer and may have been weaponized using a leaked Microsoft Windows exploit (EternalBlue) stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency.
Among those to first report infections publicly are 16 hospitals in England and the Spanish telecom Telefonica. The infected systems rendered files encrypted and inaccessible and a warning flashed across the screens. “You only have 3 days to submit the payment. After that the price will be doubled,” it reads. “Also if you don’t pay in 7 days, you won’t be able to recover your files forever.”
Gizmodo Reporting On Ransomware attach
What is ransomware? Malicious software that locks a device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone and then demands a ransom to unlock it
Where did ransomware originate? The first documented case appeared in 2005 in the United States, but quickly spread around the world
How does it affect a computer? The software is normally contained within an attachment to an email that masquerades as something innocent. Once opened it encrypts the hard drive, making it impossible to access or retrieve anything stored on there – such as photographs, documents or music
How can you protect yourself? Anti-virus software can protect your machine, although cybercriminals are constantly working on new ways to override such protection
How much are victims expected to pay? The ransom demanded varies. Victims of a 2014 attack in the UK were charged £500. However, there’s no guarantee that paying will get your data back
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