In what is being considered as the world’s biggest cyber ransomware attack ever, more than 100 countries have been affected and over 130,000 systems compromised. The list of affected entities includes Russian banks, British hospitals, and French car manufacturers. India is also among the countries that have been hit hardest by the biggest ransomware outbreak in history. Security agencies of various countries are currently in hot pursuit of the culprits behind the attack. On the other hand, IT experts are rushing in and working non-stop to fix the problems created by the ransomware. An officer from a leading cyber security company said that India and Russia were among those that were hit hardest, since many computers in these countries still use Windows XP operating system, which has bugs that can be exploited by malicious code.
The malware works by blocking access to stored files on computer systems and demands ransom to be paid in bitcoins. However, there’s no surety that the files will be unlocked even after the ransom is paid. This is why authorities have advised affected entities to not pay any ransom to the perpetrators. Some of the leading businesses have been affected include French carmaker Renault, package delivery group FedEx, Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, etc. Computer security company Kaspersky said that it is currently in the process of developing a decryption tool that can unlock the inaccessible files.
The ransomware is named WCry, but variants have also been noticed such as WannaCry. Reports indicate that the malware was released by a hacking group named Shadow Brokers. It is being said that the hackers exploited a flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency (NSA). Microsoft had earlier released a security patch for the flaw, but systems that were not updated became vulnerable to the attack. The malware is extremely dangerous since it can spread from machine to machine on local networks and does not necessarily limit itself to email links.