Tools believed to have been stolen from the US National Security Agency morphed into a massive cyber-attack, which has affected different organizations around the world.
Over 200,000 systems were affected by the ransomware called Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry all over the world. Infections in 104 countries are reported, Including China and Russia.
National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland and England were amongst the worst hit. As BBC reported, the cyber-attack hit about 40 NHS organizations and some medical practices, which led to a cancellation of operations and appointments.
How did the cyber-attack disclose?
The virus spread quickly on Friday, just after a week of cyber security news. Screenshots shared by NHS staff showed that the WannaCry ransomware demanded a ransom of $300 in Bitcoin to unlock the files for each computer.
Apart from the UK, France’s carmaker Renault, a university computer lab in Italy, a university computer lab in Italy, the US delivery company FedEx, a local railway machine in Germany and local authority in Sweden were also hit.
Russia was reported to have more infections than any other single country. According to the country’s interior ministry, 1,000 of its computers have been infected.
How does WannaCry work?
It appears that the infections were installed via a worm – a program that extends by itself between computers. Once the malware is inside an organization, it will infect all the vulnerable machines by hunting them down.
Who’s behind the attack?
A group of hackers known as The Shadow Brokers stole the NSA tools and made it freely available as a part of their protest against the US President Donald Trump.
However, Microsoft has issued emergency security updates for different operating systems that no longer receive mainstream support. Also, a number of infections appear to be slowing after a UK-based cyber-security researchers tweeting as @MalwareTechBlog accidentally triggered what is called a “Kill Switch.” He also warned that it was a temporary fixed, advising everyone to patch their system as soon as possible.