More than 300,000 computers fell victim to an enormous cyberattack this past Friday, leaving many people worldwide questioning the security of their personal information.
According to USA Today, “A massive attack from the “WannaCry” malware crippled more than 20% of hospitals in the United Kingdom and affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, harming 100,000 organizations said Rob Wainwright, the head of the European Union’s “Europol” law enforcement agency. The software, which spreads among Windows computers, infects and then locks up individual machines. The cyber criminals who unleashed the malware then demanded a ransom to be paid in the electronic currency Bitcoin to unlock the computers. The attack mostly impacted computers in Europe and Asia and spared North America.”
The cyberattack affected modes of transportation, hospitals, and computers all over the world such as Europe, Russia, America, India, and etc. Some businesses were more vulnerable than others. Most banks, however, were not affected by the malicious virus. Banks are constantly upgrading their security for cases just like this to protect their investments and customers’ money. Hospitals, on the other hand, did fall victim the virus. Most hospitals, especially in the United Kingdom, for example, had been hacked causing the majority of the computers to malfunction and to become incapable of processing and collecting data. Nurses had to take notes by hand, and some operations had to be postponed, since the computers were needed for surgical operations and diagnostics.
According to CBS News, “This latest attack was more widespread [than past attacks], taking advantage of a known vulnerability in older Microsoft software to force the shutdown of hospitals and other businesses around the world by encrypting files to make them inaccessible until a ransom of $300 was paid.”
The attack also leaked crucial files from the US National Security Agency. The hackers currently remain anonymous and at large, though there has been some speculation that the attack may have been allegedly initiated by North Korea It’s only a matter of time before the successful hackers strike back with another sinister program.
Beside harming national security in the US, the virus also threatened wealthy companies such as Disney.
According to FOX News, “Digital hackers have reportedly gotten their mitts on a copy of Disney's new "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. the hackers are demanding a lot of Bitcoin loot, or they will release the film online before its May 26 premiere date.”
Although Disney has refused to pay the ransom, they are working with the FBI in order to help catch the culprits responsible for the attack.
Hackers are becoming more and more crafty with manipulating technology to their personal benefits. Viruses and cyber attacks have become a more pressing issue as our society continues to advance in its understanding of technology.