How to protect yourself from the massive worldwide cyberattack
- Author: Arturo Norris May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 0:13
The cyber attack that spread malicious software around the world, shutting down networks at hospitals, banks and government agencies, was thwarted by a young British researcher and an cheap domain registration, with help from another 20-something security engineer in the US.
Cybersecurity officials in Britain have applauded MalwareTech for helping halt the global attack.
Another major cyber-attack could be imminent after Friday's global hit that infected more than 125,000 computer systems, security experts have warned.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it has not been affected by the attack but Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust communications manager Roy Probert said the trust is still remaining vigilant.
It's important to note that this type of attack happens quite often and can target consumers as well as businesses.
The malware, also known as WannaCry, hit systems in other countries as well, including the United States and Russian Federation. On top of that, copycat versions of the malicious software have already started to spread.
Huss took a screen shot of his discovery and shared it on Twitter. He also warned hackers could upgrade the virus to remove the "kill switch" that helped to stop it. "Version 1 of WannaCrypt was stoppable but version 2.0 will likely remove the flaw".
"I think the security industry as a whole should be considered heroes", he said. Researchers recorded infections in tens of thousands of machines, and Europol estimated Sunday that the attack had spread to about 150 countries.
David Kennedy, formerly with the US National Security Agency said the software has stopped from spreading thanks to a "kill switch", but a hacker could change the code and resume the attack at any moment.
"It could be very possible".
"There are other criminals who've launched this attack, and they are ultimately responsible for this", he said from his home in Oxford, England.
Targets both large and small have been hit.
The assault, which began Friday and was being described as the biggest-ever cyber ransom attack, struck state agencies and major companies around the world - from Russian banks and British hospitals to FedEx and European vehicle factories.
Europol, the European Union's policing agency, said the attack remains an "escalating threat" whose numbers "are still going up" after a brief slowdown on Friday.
Hutchins, who uses the name MalwareTech online, is now helping the National Cyber Security Centre with their investigations. The NHS said in a statement on Saturday that there was no evidence that patient information had been compromised.
The effects were felt across the globe, with Britain's National Health Service, Russia's Interior Ministry and companies including Spain's Telefonica, FedEx Corp.in the US and French carmaker Renault all reporting disruptions.
The ransomware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the US National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.