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Ransomware called ‘WannaCry’ unleashed via Windows system; malware locked files in infected computers and asked owner to pay up to regain possession


MOSCOW – Organizations in at least 99 countries were hit by a cyber attack yesterday with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan as those that were most affected.

The attack involved ransomware called “WannaCry” that was unleashed by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability. Microsoft released a security patch for that weakness in the operating system ladt March,

“WannaCry” locked all files of infected computers and asked the computers’ administrator to pay in order to unlock them. Computers and networks that did not update their systems fell victim to the cyber attack.

A CNN report said cybersecurity company Avast tracked more than 75,000 attacks in 99 countries with majority of the attacks concentrated in Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Among those hit were 16 National Health Service (NHS) organizations in the UK prompting some of the hospitals to cancel outpatient consultations and asking the people to avoid emergency departments as much as possible.

Spain’s Telefonica company was also hit by the ransomware.

Russia’s Interior Ministry said less than one percent of their computers were affected and that the virus was “localized.” The statement said antivirus systems are working to destroy it. Russian telecommunications company Megafon was also hit by the attack.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Homeland Security urged people to update their operating systems. “We are actively sharing information related to this event and stand ready to lend technical support and assistance as needed to our partners, both in the United States and internationally,” the department said in a statement. GAC/Expat Media


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