Ransomware cyber attack hits nearly 100 countries
More than 45,000 computers in 75 countries reported a ransomware attack on Friday, and that number is expected to rise.
The ransomware attack initially hit hospital networks all across England, but since then, it’s spread all across the globe. Russia, China, and the United States have all reported attacks, but Europe and Russia have been the hardest hit. The Russian interior ministry said more than 1,000 computers in their country were affected.
The motivation behind the ransomware attack seems to be extortion. The affected computers are told to pay $300 in bitcoins, and for every hour they don’t, the amount will rise. If they decide not to pay at all, then the computer’s files will be lost.
How this happened
In April, a cyber attack organization called the Shadow Brokers claimed to have stolen a cyber weapon from the National Security Agency that allows you to have unprecedented access to Microsoft Windows computers. The exploit is called, “EternalBlue,” and once Windows discovered the problem in March, they sent out a system update to fix it.
The people who are currently being attacked with the ransomware are users who didn’t update their Windows software.
“This was eminently predictable in a lot of ways,” said cybersecurity expert Ryan Kalember to The Guardian. “As soon as the Shadow Brokers dump came out everyone realized that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to install a patch, especially if they used an operating system like Windows XP, for which there is no patch.”