A Mayday situation.
Last May was truly a nightmare for computer-users all around the globe, thanks to WannaCry ransomware attack. While similar low-scale attacks were witnessed a few months prior, nothing could beat this massive cyberwave that looped pretty much 75% of the world. It was not coined as the ‘Cyber Attack of the Year’ for nothing.
300,000+ systems, 150+ countries, and 3 days- that pretty much sums up the whole WannaCry Saga.
What does it do, though? How does a ransomware like WannaCry spread? Let’s find out more about this scary cyber threat!
How Does A Ransomware Attack Work?
Ransomware is what it is- A ‘Ransom’ ware! A bug or virus that is strong enough to lock you out of your own system until you pay the amount asked for. A system kidnapping, to be precise.
They are sneaky little things. They hop into your emails and trick you to open malicious content attachments. It alters the data encryptions making it even more vulnerable to the lurking malware. You will now asked for sum to restore your data access. Scary, eh!
WannaCry’s Effect on Singapore & Hong Kong Markets
Asia, being a hub of the major technological advancements in the world, was one of the noted victims of WannaCry. There was hue and cry everywhere, including hospitals, malls, institutions, schools, colleges- you just name it. Singapore and Hong Kong, although a major part of this industrial chain, weren’t that hugely affected. Thank goodness!
Sources state that more than 500 IP addresses were infected by this ransomware bug in the three days of the attack. Not a huge number, if we go by the stats. Also, the critical and confidential database was declared safe.
A strong point here would be how many of these computers were saved from getting encrypted because of the ‘kill switch’, software that limited the access of the ransomware.
The most affected places, surprisingly, were the shopping malls and stores including Tiong Bahru Plaza, Orchard Central Desigual, and White Sands. Thankfully, none of their sensitive information was leaked and misused.
The situation wasn’t the same in Hong Kong, however.
More than 40 prestigious firms and institutions were crippled by the infamous cyberattack that extended till 15 May 2017 in Hong Kong. A total of 48 attacks were witnessed from seven different countries using at least 25 different variants of the WannaCry worm in three days. Yeah, this actually happened with one of the tech-leaders of the world!
How To Protect Yourself & Your Organization From Similar Cyber Attacks
Here are a few solid tips that may protect you from all types of cyber threats!
1. Use ‘Passphrases’ In the Place of Passwords
Easy to memorize and super-effective; passphrases are here to stay.
It’s up to you. You may create complicated and super long passwords with numbers, alphabets, characters or whatever and be assured of the security, or you can go for one simple phrase that you will always remember like ILoveMyMom. Whatever is your choice, avoid penning them down and use a different one for different websites. You can always get creative with it! Make your own special format and apply it on every website so you have no chance to forget them!
2. Cyber Security Intelligence Tools
If you are not sure of your tools and techniques, take help of cyber security providers like Apvera, simple.
They help provide you with custom security tools and services for prolonged life of your system- from pinpointing threatening users, devices and risky user transactions to real-time security boosts. An insider threat or a hacking attempt, you’ll be safe from everything!
3. Keep Your Systems & Applications Up to Date
Don’t slack off with system or application updates, guys.
The pop-ups are maybe annoying and the whole process of system and software updation a bit time-taking, but the fruits are definitely noteworthy. These updates aren’t just to enhance looks or add extra features, they are an ultimate way to add on to the security patches of the specific application. Old and un-updated systems and applications are the best tools for hacking attempts. Infecting them is a lot more convenient and it’s easily accessible too. Simply, perfect!
Next time you try to get lazy with your updates, remember WannaCry Attack of 2017.
The story doesn’t end here. At least not on the cyber security front. Attacks are here to stay, especially when the world is witnessing a computer-evolution almost every year. Such a situation will happen again- this year, next year, next decade who knows.
You need to be prepared for everything. Afterall, Prevention is always better than care.