The ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users' access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.
The WannaCry "ransomware" cyber attack hobbled Chinese traffic police and schools on Monday as it rolled into Asia for the new work week, while authorities in Europe said they were trying to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.
That's scary enough, but what really chills the bone is the idea that we have no idea when this will all end. WannaCry demonstrated how sophisticated these attacks have become. And because of our dependence on technology, there are no easy solutions.
The cyberattack highlights how critical infrastructure and major organizations can be harmed by outdated software and technology.
When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday. Or worse: What if this outbreak evolves into something even more risky and widespread? And as Friday's attack shows, the unthinkable is already far too real. To do all this, the software exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that is thought to have been first identified by the National Security Agency and was later leaked online. Once inside an organization's network, the malware behind the attack spread rapidly using this vulnerability.
Microsoft has fired criticism at the U.S. government for its part in Friday's massive cyberattack that hit more than 100 countries and affected more than 100,000 organisations including the UK's National Health Service (NHS), telecoms giant Telefonica, vehicle manufacturers Nissan and Renault, and courier delivery service FedEx.
The cyberattack has hit more than 300,000 computers, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said at Monday's midday White House briefing. The payments ranged from $300 to $600. The message attacthed the the emails reads: "You can decrypt some of your files for free, but if you want to decrypt all your files, you need to pay".
Microsoft has hit out at governments for "stockpiling vulnerabilities", blaming them for the "widespread damage" caused by the latest cyberattack.
If you use old software that doesn't update automatically, set up a regular schedule to go to the company's website and download and install updates yourself - at least weekly.
Estimates by law enforcement agency Europol estimated yesterday that more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries were infected, but with the worm continuing to spread to vulnerable Windows machines, that number will surely rise.
The computing giant says the tool used in this current attack had been developed by the US National Security Agency and was stolen by hackers.
Today's problem may just be the beginning. Unfortunately, two new variations of the virus were spotted on Monday. "And it would take a lot more effort to try to stop that next wave of attack". However, officials and security firms said the spread was starting to slow. In reality, doing that may be more hard than it sounds, either because of corporate cultures that don't prioritize security or because of a lack of funding to upgrade to the latest and greatest.
"So we have the WannaCry thing". You can WhatsApp us on +1 347-322-0415. FedEx also reported they had been affected, releasing in a statement they "are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible". "This means that as a new working week begins it is likely, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale".