May 15, 2017 11:10 AM EDT
The nasty and huge "ransomware" attack that seized computers worldwide on Friday is set to have a second wave. Apparently, experts warn that the virus could "come back" in computers that have been fixed already.
In one instance, the cyber attack prevented people from receiving hospital care. Now, a second wave of what European officials label as the "biggest ransomware attack ever" is highly likely to be more devastating. The software first infected Britain's National Health Service (NHS) before spreading to as many as 150 countries.
According to The Washington Post, the "ransomware" breached and locked down victims' computers and even threatened to delete their files unless they pay $300 in bitcoins. For the record, bitcoins are black chain money wherein one bitcoin is currently worth 1, 596 Euros. The attack primarily targeted users of Windows XP, an aging operating system for Microsoft.
The damage was contained by a 22-year-old security researcher who goes by the name @MalwareTechBlog on Twitter. This person discovered that the unnamed online terrorists accidentally included a "kill switch" in their software that allowed owners of websites to stop the attack. However, the researcher had to pay roughly $10 to acquire the domain name before being able to thwart the malware.
Nevertheless, experts know that the victory could be short-lived. Otherwise known as "WannaCry" or "Wanna Decryptor", the virus is likely to be modified soon and the culprits may continue the attack at greater levels. Thus, governments and cyber-security forces should treat it as a "wake-up call".
Any software vulnerability which could be accessed by hackers should be strengthened. Consequently, Microsoft should investigate the dangerous flaw in its system. Luckily, though, the spread of "WannaCry" has slowed down over the weekend. So far, over 200,000 computers have been infected.
Meanwhile, ABC News provided five ways to become "smaller targets" for "ransomware" hackers. Foremost, the public must secure backups. Well, once files are encrypted, users have very limited options to retrieve them.
Secondly, people must update their systems. Those who did not apply Microsoft's March software fix are more vulnerable. Thirdly, everyone should install antivirus software that will protect them from the most basic viruses by scanning the computer system. Next is to educate the workforce about what to click and what to ignore when it comes to suspicious links.
Lastly, when affected already, users must not wait and see. Immediately shut down the network to prevent continued encryption. Attackers will encourage victims to keep their computers on but do not be fooled.
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