What is WannaCry ‘Ransomware’?

WannaCry is not a new threat of ransomware (a malware that demands ransome) in the cyber world. ‘Crypto locked’, ‘torrent locker’ and many more softwares have existed for a long time. Mostly computers and laptops are the victims of these attacks because of ‘open source platform’.

Mobile attacks have also been reported last year. Researchers are working to find a solution to get rid of the threat.

How does it work?

  1. Ransomware is a type of malicious software which enters into your system and encrypts the data, making it inaccessible to the user of the system. (In other words, it converts your files into a non-crackable code.)
  2. It locks you out of your own files and other data on your computer.
  3. It then displays a message on your computer screen, demanding a ‘ransome’ amount from you. The message tells you to deposit a certain amount if you want to access your files ever again.
  4. At first, the ransomeware doesn’t harm the data. The hackers set a time limit in which you have to make the payment.
  5. If you fail to pay the desired amount to the hackers, in this time limit, the amount is doubled and a new time limit is set. If you don’t pay the hackers the next time too, then the malware deletes all your data automatically!

In a way, Ransomware abducts (kidnaps) your data and asks you for a Ransome! 

Where did Ransomware Begin?

  1. According to the US Computer Emergency Readiness team, a malware named Wannacry is spread by an internet worm that ‘copies’ itself by hacking other computer network.
  2. It believes that the source of ‘Wannacry’ is a software tool – ‘Eternal blue’, has been stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA) of USA.
  3. UK, Russia, Taiwan and Ukraine are among the countries which were affected the most by this malicious software.

How Does Ransomware Spread?

  1. When the system comes in contact with the insecure computer network, ransomeware propagates through the insecure network and spreads its copies via the network.
  2. The method of exploitation it uses is called ‘Heapspraying‘. It injects the ‘shell code’ into the vulnerable system.
  3. Once it enters the system, it encrypts the files.
  4. When user tries to access the system, it pops up a message and asks for money to decrypt the files.
  5. The hackers are demanding the amount in the bitcoin currency.
  • Bitcoin is a crypto-currency which was invented by Satoshi Nakamato.
  • Bitcoin uses the Blockchain technology to record the data of transaction.

Who can be the victim of Ransomware?

  1. Computer systems with outdated cyber protection softwares are the most vulnerable to attack.
  2. Healthcare providers are the main victims of these attacks because they usually use windows XP on their systems, which is again an outdated version of windows and hence doesn’t receive any security updates.

India’s Concerns about Ransomware

India is transforming in the digital world but still lacks in security aspects. India has also been infected by the Wannacry attack. Various incidents of cyber attack by ransomware have been reported in Gujarat and some other parts of the country.

India’s main concerns in this area are regarding:

  • Lack of cyber security
  • Banking industry’s complete dependency on digital technology
  • Not all sections of society are aware of these dangerous attack
  • Lack of knowledge of Information Technology among a huge chunk of digital user base of India.

How you can prevent Ransomware from attacking you:

  • Keep backup of your data in hard disks which are not connected to the internet.
  • Update your computers in a timely manner.
  • Do not surf  suspicious websites.
  • Never open unknown Email attachments which include ‘.exe’ extensions.
  • Keep your PC secure with antivirus.
  • After the Wannacry attack, Microsoft has released security updates to keep your computer systems protected from this attack specifically.
  • Remember that paying ransom amount will not solve the problem. Hackers will ask for more money.

Also, strong anti-malware software is the need of an hour to secure the digital world from the malware attacks.

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