Over 200,000 Hit in Massive Cyber Attack

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
May 15, 2017
Internet Crime

A massive cyber attack has targeted over 200,000 people in 150 different countries, locking car factories, hospitals, shops and schools and demanding a ransom to restore functionality, according to Reuters. So far, the attackers have extorted about $50,000 from its victims worldwide, according to Bloomberg

The attack began over the weekend and the numbers are expected to rise as the work week kicks off and more people inadvertently contract the malware driving the infection. The malware, dubbed WannaCry, was compared to a pandemic by retired U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO due to the scale and scope of its reach, according to CNBC. While initial reports indicated that the malware was limited to computers running outdated versions of Windows, recent reports have indicated that Apple products are also vulnerable, according to another CNBC piece. 

The software apparently uses system exploits developed and maintained by the National Security Agency for surveillance purposes, according to NPR, which led Microsoft to critique the U.S. government for stockpiling software vulnerabilities. 

PC Advisor said that the malware typically comes in the form of an email attachment. When opened, it encrypts all files and demands a ransom to restore access. Microsoft has already issued a patch for systems vulnerable to WannaCry, and has advised those running any version of Windows older than Windows 8 (especially Windows XP) to update their systems to install the patch. 

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.