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  • Writer's pictureNexix Security Labs

WannaCry Ransomware Attack

WannaCry Ransomware

Crypto ransomware, such as WannaCry, is a type of harmful software (malware) used by cybercriminals to extract money.

Ransomware accomplishes this by encrypting important files, rendering them unreadable, or by locking you out of your computer, preventing you from using it. Crypto ransomware is ransomware that uses encryption. Locker ransomware is the type that locks you out of your computer. WannaCry, like the previous crypto-ransomware, holds your data hostage and promises to return it if you pay a ransom.

WannaCry is a ransomware attack that targets systems running Microsoft Windows. It encrypts data and demands a ransom payment in Bitcoin in exchange for its release.

What was the WannaCry ransomware attack?

In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware outbreak became a global epidemic.

This ransomware assault infected Microsoft Windows-based computers. Users' files were kidnapped, and a Bitcoin ransom was required to get them back. The harm caused by this attack may have been avoided if not for the ongoing usage of antiquated computer systems and a lack of education about the importance of updating software.

How does a WannaCry attack work?

The cybercriminals behind the attack used a hack purportedly devised by the US National Security Agency to exploit a flaw in the Microsoft Windows operating system.

This hack, dubbed EternalBlue, was made public by a group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers prior to the WannaCry assault.

Nearly two months before the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, Microsoft released a security patch that safeguarded users' PCs from this exploit. Unfortunately, many individuals and companies fail to upgrade their operating systems on a regular basis, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Those who had not installed a Microsoft Windows update prior to the attack were not protected by the patch, and the EternalBlue vulnerability left them vulnerable to assault.

When the WannaCry ransomware assault first occurred, many people assumed it was transmitted through a phishing campaign (a phishing campaign is where spam emails with infected links or attachments lure users to download malware). EternalBlue, on the other hand, was the exploit that allowed WannaCry to spread and propagate, with DoublePulsar serving as the 'backdoor' on the infected systems (used to execute WannaCry).

What happened if the WannaCry ransom was not paid?

The perpetrators initially requested $300 in bitcoins but eventually boosted their ransom demand to $600. Victims of the WannaCry ransomware assault were told that if they did not pay the ransom within three days, their files would be irreversibly wiped.

When it comes to ransom payments, the advice is to resist the pressure. Avoid paying a ransom since there is no guarantee that your data will be released, and every payment confirms the thieves' business model, increasing the likelihood of further attacks.

This tip came in handy during the WannaCry assault, as the coding utilized in the attack was reportedly flawed. The attackers had no method of connecting the ransom payment with a specific victim's machine when victims paid their ransom.

It's unclear whether anyone received their files back. Some researchers stated that their data was never returned to them. F-Secure, on the other hand, is a security firm.

What impact did the WannaCry attack have?

Throughout 230,000 machines were infected with the WannaCry ransomware outbreak around the world.

Telefónica, a Spanish mobile phone carrier, was one of the first to be impacted. Thousands of NHS hospitals and surgeries across the UK were affected by May 12th.

The attack impacted a third of NHS hospital trusts. Ambulances were reportedly rerouted, leaving patients in need of immediate medical attention stranded. After 19,000 appointments were canceled as a result of the attack, the NHS was projected to have spent £92 million.

Computer systems in 150 nations were affected as ransomware moved beyond Europe. The WannaCry ransomware assault has a huge financial impact around the world. It is estimated that this cybercrime cost the global economy $4 billion.

Ransomware protection

Now that you know how the WannaCry ransomware attack happened and what impact it had, it's time to think about how you can defend yourself from ransomware.

Here are some of our best recommendations:

Update your software and operating system regularly

Because they had not updated their Microsoft Windows operating system, computer users were victims of the WannaCry attack. They would have benefited from the security patch that Microsoft provided before the attack if they had updated their operating systems on a regular basis.

EternalBlue used this vulnerability to infect machines with WannaCry ransomware, and this patch fixed it. Make sure your software and operating system are up to date. This is a crucial step in preventing ransomware.

Do not click on suspicious links

Do not click on any links in an unusual email or on a website you do not trust. Ransomware can be downloaded by clicking on untrusted links.

Never open untrusted email attachments

If you're not sure if an email attachment is safe, don't open it. Are you familiar with and confident in the sender? Is the nature of the attachment clear? Were you expecting a file like the one attached?

Stay away from any attachments that need you to allow macros in order to see them. Allowing macros to run or opening the attachment is a popular way for ransomware and other types of malware to spread.

Do not download from untrusted websites

When you download files from unknown sources, you run the risk of getting ransomware. Only download files from reputable websites.

Avoid unknown USBs

If you don't know where USBs or other removable storage devices originated from, don't put them in your computer. It's possible that they've been infected with ransomware.

Use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi

When utilizing public Wi-Fi, be cautious because your computer system becomes more exposed to assault. Use a secure VPN to protect yourself from malware, when using public Wi-Fi.

Install internet security software

Install internet security software to secure your computer and prevent ransomware. Opt for a complete solution that guards against a variety of dangers.

Update your internet security software

Keep your internet security up to date to guarantee you get the most out of it (including all of the newest patches).

Back up your data

Make regular backups of your data to an external hard drive or cloud storage. If you have backed up your data, it will be protected if you are attacked by ransomware criminals. Once you've backed up your data, remember to disconnect your external storage device from your computer. When you connect your external storage to your PC on a regular basis, you risk exposing it to ransomware families that can encrypt data on these devices as well.

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