RANSOMWARE: Extortion through Cyber-attack


Many countries have been shook by the recent malware attacks in the hospital computers especially the United Kingdom and Russia. The attacks are such that the hospital staff are unable to access the medical records of their patients, the panic thus caused many patients from resorting to their homes and many surgeries has to be cancelled. The malware popularly now being known as WannaCry will only go away and make the records accessible if the required ransom is paid, such malware is known as Ransomware. The cyber-attack has been so vast that it has spread to about 150 countries and around 200,000 people have become part of this computer virus thus NHS was not the only one to be under attack but it has been reported that some big corporations including Nissan UK has come under this attack. The Europol Director has actually warned everyone that the malware will spread and more people can become affected in coming days since this malware has come to release its variants as well.

Ransomware is such a malware that feeds on the sensitive information made accessible to the attacker and then the attacker uses this information to carry out cryptoviral extortion attack, demanding ransom from the people otherwise their private lives can be made public or can be exploited in other ways. Ransomware uses usually Trojan to enter into the system so that the assualt can be made possible. The most common payment method is by using digital currency i.e. the Bitcoin, and this is what WannaCry has demanded as the method of payment.

The Europol Director further briefed the public about prevention is through by not using the older versions of Windows for instance Windows XP or Windows 8. Since the Microsoft doesn’t supply or support these Windows, there is no guarantee that these Windows are actually secured. Microsoft stopped giving out updates for security in the year 2014 for Windows XP thus this Windows has become an open ground for any kind of cyber-attack or malwares. Since most of the NHS computers use Windows XP, you know now how dangerous can that be for them and the patients. The hackers under the name WannaCry have outsmarted so many Cyber Security experts since they have managed to steal some hacking tools that are actually used by US spy agency, NSA.

Although the first wave of virus attack was ceased accidentally in a way by a British researcher by the name MalwareTech found the code name ‘worm’ that enabled a kill-switch thus stopping the malware spread. But it has been speculated that the second wave is soon to rise and will be even far more dangerous and wide spreading. It is thus, ensured by the Windows officials that the computers are updated to the newer versions of Windows thus saving them from future cyber-attacks.