May 12, 2017, has now been noted as the Black Friday of the Digital age, since on this day the malicious Ransomware program WannaCry started spreading and has now infected nearly 300,000 systems globally. The virus encrypts and locks all the system files and asks for a ransom amount of $300 to be paid in the form of Bitcoin currency to unlock the hacked files. The cryptoviral extortion attack has infected multiple public and private networks globally, and as per Chain Analysic, a Bitcoin transaction firm, a sum of around $57,282 has alreayd been paid to hackers by users from locations like Europe, Russia, Korea, and Taiwan.
WannaCry was slowed down on Saturday by the ‘accidental hero’ Marcus Hutchins, a young 22 year old British researcher who purchased the domain hidden in the virus code, which eventually developed a Kill Switch for the malware, but he suggests that the software is still a threat to Microsoft operating systems that are not up-to-date with Softwares. Europe appears to be the Ground Zero for WannaCry’s foundation.
The IT Ministry of India and the Reserve Bank of India, are working to save the country’s digital payment ecosystem to be hit by the attack. All the Banks are on high alert and most banks are advised to shut ATM operations for few days. and India’s cyber security system was successfully able to prevent the virus from rolling in the nation.
As per the latest reports an Indian-origin security researcher Neel Mehta has found a code that suggests North Korea as the origin of this malware attack. Neel published the code on Twitter and as per the Russian cyber security firm this is the most significant clue in the event of this hazardous attack.
This sort of digital terrorism isn’t the first of its kind globally; history suggests that the first extortion attack digitally occurred in 1989 and had since been continuing with the names of CryptoLocker and CryptoWall which accrued millions of dollars before shutting down by the authorities.
How to save your system from WannaCry infection:
– Keep a regular backup of your data and make sure that you have working and updated antivirus software on your computer
– Do not access unknown emails and links that seem malicious; they may release the malware
Sad part is that the attack is far from over and the researchers are still trying to figure out a clear way to counter the mass attack that is aimed to paralyze global transactions.
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