Ransomware is a virus like program that encrypts all your files, then locks your system and then demands a payment … $600 USD at the moment in this particular case.
A massive cyber-attack has struck organisations around the world. It is believed the attackers are using tools stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Cyber-security firm Avast said it had seen 75,000 cases of the ransomware around the world. The ransomware is what is known as WannaCry and similar names to that. There are reports of infections in 99 countries, including Russia and China.
Among the worst hit was the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Scotland.
The malware spread quickly on Friday, with medical staff in the UK reportedly seeing computers go down “one by one”. Throughout the day others, mainly European countries, reported infections. Russia has seen more infections than any other single country. Countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden and even China have also been affected by this Cyber-attack.
The infections seem to be set up via a worm – a program that spreads by itself between computers. Once “WannaCry” is inside an organisation it will hunt down weak machines and infect them too.
Fortunately, the number of infections seems to be slowing after a “kill switch” appears to have been found. The “kill switch” was accidentally activated by a UK-based cyber-security researcher tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog.
He was quoted as saying he noticed the web address the virus was searching for had not been registered. And when he registered it, the virus appeared to stop spreading. But he also warned, this was a temporary fix. @MalwareTechBlog has also urged computers users to “patch their systems ASAP”.
So TAKE CAUTION and be EXTRA careful when choosing which sites to visit. And DO NOT click on any attachments in email, unless you are absolutely sure you know who it’s from and what it’s about.