In our modern world full of technology that is rapidly evolving. Simple gadgets from long ago become more and more complex and as well as being more integral in our daily lives. Improvement in hardware has also had a direct impact on the improvement in technology, and with good development in technology also comes developers with malicious intents. There has been a lot of news about WannaCry or WannaCrypt. It has infected a lot of computers and apparently there is another more malicious version in the works. Now, there might be practical ways on how to prevent getting infected but no matter how safe a system is, there might still be vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of. And as what i have came across, the malware was able to spread rapidly and has taken a lot of computers hostage due to a vulnerability in Windows that was patched in March.
This malware encrypts the files in your computer and holds it ransom in order to decrypt them. The payment is in bitcoin and with the rate that it has spread, it has proven to be pretty lucrative for the hackers, whoever they are. It has been reported that there is an average of $1.8k of payment every minute. And there are a lot of computers that were infected and some spread on quickly since it was able to spread like wildfire on network connected computers. There are a lot of companies or home users that would need their files so it sounds tempting to just pay the ransom.
It does not seem wise to pay the ransom as these people are cyber criminals and let us look at it this way, they are anonymous and since they are criminals, they have no obligation to decrypt your files. The easiest way seems to be just to reformat your computer and it might take someone that is techy enough to make sure that everything is clean. This might not be a good option for some people but the best practice, especially for people with important files is always have a backup.
The outbreak has revealed a vulnerability in the Windows operating system. The ransom ware has spread quickly across corporate networks and Microsoft was able to release a fix shortly after news about the outbreak spread. It has been revealed that most of the computers that were affected have versions of Windows that do not have security patches anymore. These unsupported versions would be Windows Server 2003 Windows XP, and Windows 8. And some computers with supported versions like Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 were also infected but Microsoft has released a statement that security patches that would have fixed the vulnerability was released March of this year.
It seems that the issue could have been prevented if users have kept their computer up to date. Softwares would have life cycles and since most of the computers that were infected could not get security updates anymore, it has just made the infection spread faster. There also evidence of phishing emails and other forms of infection that may have started the wildfire. But with properly updated systems and other forms of best practices to avoid infection, hopefully we can survive this catastrophe and be safer in the future.