If you just got back from a busy weekend and are looking at your computer, chances are you are seeing headlines for the WannaCry malware attack.
WannaCry is a trojan virus that’s called “ransomware.” It effects a computer by taking it hostage and demands that the victim pay a price in order to gain their files back. It encrypts most or all of the files on a user’s computer and in order for the files to be decrypted, demands a ransom. This software specifically, is demanding victims pay a ransom of $300 in bitcoins. If you don’t pay, the amount then doubles to $600. If no payment is made after seven days, the system then deletes all of the encrypted files and all of your data is lost.
According to security researches, the virus had already affected nearly 57,000 computers in over 150 countries across the world last week, and on Monday, that number is now at more than 200,000 systems.
A 22-year-old security researcher named Marcus Hutchins inadvertently was able to slow down the spread of the virus.
He registered a domain name that was hidden within the virus’ code to track the spread. Unintentionally he was able to slow its progress. Hutchin’s already wrote his story in a blog post called, “How to Accidentally Stop Global Cyber Attacks.”
There is no fix for this virus at this time, so in order to be safe, install any and all available security updates immediately.