More victims expected in global cyberattack as people head to work Monday
Experts are calling it one of the biggest cybersecurity attacks in recent history that hit more than 150 countries over the weekend. Hackers infected computers and demanded ransom to free victims-but a second wave could come this morning as people head back to work.
The latest number of victims is more than 200,000.
The attack started on Friday and is reportedly the largest online extortion ever. Authorities say a hacker, or group of hackers, called “WannaCry” created ransomware using stolen NSA tools.
The attack locked computers in hospitals, universities, manufacturers and government agencies in the U.K., China, Russia, Germany, Spain and the United States.
Hackers threatened to keep computers disabled unless victims paid a ransom to receive a decryption key.
Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, says the number of targets who paid up is low.
“I think $20,000 to $30,000 worth,” said Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol. “I would never recommend you pay a ransom because you’re dealing with a bunch of crooks. You never know that they’re going to do what they promise anyway,” Wainwright said.
But had it not been for a cybersecurity researcher and a programmer, the attack could have spread farther and faster.
Two “accidental heroes” halted the attack by registering a domain name hidden in the malware.
One is a 22-year U.K. cybersecurity researcher, who goes by the name “Malware Tech”, and the other is a Grand Rapids Security Research Engineer named Darien Huss. They say the person, or persons, behind all of this was not very experienced.
“It really did not take long to figure out there was a kill switch feature in it,” said Huss. “The individual or individuals responsible for this aren’t very sophisticated. It feels really amateur hour to me,” said Huss.
IT departments are encouraged to check their systems today to ensure they haven’t been compromised. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies worldwide say it’s too early to determine who is behind this.