What is Wannacry Ransomware?

Wannacry ransomware
WannaCry ransomware attack

One of the most prominent malware infections used by cyber attackers today, Wannacry ransomware is a threat to all your devices. In 2017, this malware infection destroyed countless networks all over the world. From big banks and health care systems to telecommunication companies, nothing was left untouched.

Even now, it is one of the deadliest ways of overtaking our systems and removing important files. If you want your device to be safe from the threat of Wannacry ransomware, it is important to know all about it.

So, if you want to take care of all the important files and protect them against this fatal malware, here’s what you should know:

Defining Wannacry Ransomware?

Malware are all extremely dangerous for your device, but Wannacry ransomware is on another level. It is a crypto-ransomware that targets all Windows PCs. You can call it a worm because this ransomware has the ability to spread from one PC to another PC through different networks.

Once it enters a computer, this virus effortlessly encrypts all kinds of important files and then the perpetrators demand a ransom in the form of crypto as payment to unlock and release your files. This virus is named after the first detected code strings of the virus samples.

In 2017, Microsoft developed a patch that would have helped in preventing this virus in all devices around the globe. However, countless devices could not be updated in time, which is why they still remain vulnerable to date.   

How Does the Wannacry Ransomware Infect and Attack a System?

Compared to other malware, Wannacry has a completely different infecting method for different devices. In 2017, a serious vulnerability was discovered in the windows system which was initially used by the US National Security Agency. After that, this exploit was shared online via a cybercriminal group online under the name Eternal Blue. This enabled the Wannacry ransomware owners to run their code using the protocol of Server Message Block by tricking the Windows System.

The Wannacry ransomware uses corporate networks to spread to different windows networks. As opposed to phishing attacks, the users don’t have to select a wrong link or an infected file, this malware seeks vulnerable systems on its own. Sometimes it also uses stolen credentials. After that, it copies the programs and then executes them several times that allowing it to take over all the vulnerable systems in a company. This way, one vulnerable system in an organization can put all systems at risk.

The Wannacry ransomware has various components. First, there is an initial delivery program that includes many other programs like encryption and decryption software. After that when Wannacry enters a system, it looks for specific files that include Microsoft files, videos, pictures, and audio files. After finding all the files, it carries out an encryption routine on the files that can only be decoded by a digital key that is delivered through external sources.

The infected files in the system can only be accessed through backup copies. Otherwise, regaining those files isn’t possible. In the first attack by Wannacry, the only option people had was to pay the ransom. However, even after paying the ransom, many victims did not get admission into their files.

Origin of Wannacry Ransomware

in 2017, the Wannacry virus made an appearance and threatened many corporate networks around the globe. It affected more than 200,000 in about 150 countries. These infected systems included Russian banks and healthcare systems in the UK. Even though the virus seemed to emerge all of a sudden, later it was found that some earlier versions of it were experienced in North Korea.

The Wannacry code had many clues, but no one came forward and took the responsibility for creating the program. However, it was found out early in the attack that it tried to access an unregistered URL. However, if the URL was opened, it would stop the Wannacry attack. Afterwards, a researcher effectively registered the URL and blunted the Wannacry ransomware spread.

There have been several scares of Wannacry in recent years. Once in 2018, its spread in Boeing caused massive panic. However, it did little damage and more panic. Though productivity in the company did take a major hit.

Security researchers have observed renewed Wannacry attacks and have reported that the variants that hackers use today do not include a kill-switch URL.

How to Protect Your Device Against it?

If you want your organization devices to be protected against the Wannacry ransomware attack, there are some measures that you can take. This way, not only will all your computers be protected from this malware, but you can also stop other viruses from invading your systems.

Execute Backups

This additional but necessary task is an important one. If your company has important files and critical data stored in the systems, it is vital for you and your company to execute routine backups. Additionally, all these backups should be stored in external sources that is completely away from the company network. You can make use of cloud services to keep all your data so that it stays safe as well as away from any virus attacks.  

Keep Up with the Latest Software

When it comes to cybersecurity, the first thing you need to realize is the need for update. Most software have built-in virus detection and removal. The worldwide Wannacry infection could have been avoided if all companies and computers had upgraded their software because the exploit the enabled this virus to spread had been updated by Windows two months ago. Therefore, if they had updates, their system would have remained unharmed.

Provide Cybersecurity Training

It is important for you and all your employees to know how to prevent any virus attack on your device. Most of the viruses spread through opening infected files. This is why, your employees need to learn better email habits.

ransomware

As more and more employees are working remotely, it is important for them to not open any files that look suspicious or are unknown. From emails to links, everything can contain viruses, so, before opening, it is important to scan them properly.

Install Internet Security Software

It is important to keep your computer protected at all costs. In order to stop any corrupted files from entering your computer, it is a good idea to download internet security software. These software help you in protecting your device against multiple threats.

Update the Security Software

Like windows needs updating ever so often, it is also important to update all security software as well. To ensure that your device receives maximum protection, it is vital that you keep them up to date.

Do Not Use any Unknown USBs

Just like emails, many files that you get via USBs can also be corrupted. If you do not know where the USB is from and looks suspicious, do not connect it to your device. It could be infected with Wannacry ransomware and invade your computer in no time.

Make Use of VPNs when Using Public Wi-Fi

Caution is required when you’re using a public Wi-Fi, the Wi-Fi itself can contain various viruses that attack your IP address. In order to get rid of that threat, the best course of action is to use VPN while using public Wi-Fi. This way, your IP is protected and no viruses attack your files and device.

Avoid Downloading from Unknown Sites

When downloading files, it is important to use the ones that you trust. When you download files from unknown sites, you increase the chances of downloading Wannacry ransomware with one of the files. So, ensure that you click on download on only files that are reliable.

Avoid all Suspicious Links

As you know that this virus doesn’t require you to open files. It has multiple ways of invading your system. Once you click on a link on the internet, you can easily give access to this virus. This is why it is important to avoid clicking on any suspicious-looking websites.  

Should You Pay the Wannacry Ransomware?

In the initial attack conducted by Wannacry ransomware, the attackers demanded $300 in bitcoin and then later increased the amount and asked for $600 bitcoin. If the sum wasn’t paid within 3 days, the victims were told that their files will be deleted permanently.

However, even when the victims paid the hackers, they were not able to receive their files. Most of them were just a scam of returning the files. This is why, experts recommend not to pay the Wannacry ransomware hackers because it is uncertain, if you’ll be able to regain any of your files.

Most of the companies reported that none of their data was restored, but some of them reported that some data was given back. Therefore, it is useless to pay them. You’ll not only loose important files but you’ll also lose a lot of money!

Wrapping Up

Even though it caused a big uproar in 2017, the threat is still pretty much active. However, instead of the original virus, hackers now attack systems using different variants of the virus. However, if you follow all the measures written above and protect all the systems in your organization, then you’ll face no such threat!