• Zach Bernabe

Ransomware attacks hit computers worldwide

Last week, a huge ransomware attack hit the world, affecting over 200,000 computers, according to estimates. Security experts have said this attack may possibly be the start of a massive ransomware attack.

Ransomware is basically a software that blocks access to certain data until a ransom is paid. The attack called "WannaCry" spreads as a "worm" accessing linked computers and data bases locks up all files and then demanding payments of $300 to $600 for the access key, according to NBC.com. The malware is able to get into the computers through outdated Microsoft software. Even though Microsoft has stopped signing the software, they are still releasing updates to help stop the "worm."

According to the New York Times, the malicious software may have first been "developed by American intelligence agencies as part of the country’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons" and may have been stolen by an "insider, perhaps a government contractor."

Large corporations have been the targets of most attacks, but the software has also been found on personal computers. According to The New York Times, most attacks occurred on computers outside of the United States.

According to the BBC, new versions of the "worm" have been released to counter the updates from Microsoft. In order to avoid further attacks, companies "need to update their software," according to NBC News. "Those who do not will see their systems affected at an increasing rate by different variants of this malware."