Needless to say, technology has facilitated human lifestyles beyond imagination, redefined our social lives and capacitated work within seconds that would have been impossible to accomplish a decade back. Along with the blessings, technology brought about its downsides, of which biggest one is vulnerability. It is easy to connect to people across the globe, and equally easy to make them a victim of any gruesome attack that the perpetrator has initially planned.
Malware tops the chart of most preferred technique of cyber-attack and second comes target attack, account hijacking, defacement, ransomware and so on. According to February, 2017 statistics, cyberattack targeted to industries is 28.9%, following 25% in the government sector and 7.9% to individual users. Utmost precautionary measures do not ensure 100% safety from such vulnerabilities since perpetrators continuously level up their game, while tech companies and national cyber security relentlessly attempt to nullify such cyber-attacks – more like tom and jerry.
May 12, 2017 experienced one of the worst cyber – attack, namely WannaCry ransomware attack by the wannacry cryptoworm which targeted computers with Microsoft operating systems. Perpetrators decrypted valuable information contained in the computer and demanded $300 USD ransomware via Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Ransom note also included that failure to pay within 3 days would double the ransom amount and after 7 days it would destroy those encrypted documents. This worldwide devastating cyber- attack was reported to infect 230,000 computers in 150 countries within a day of its initiation and few organizations affected include Britain’s National Health Service, Spain’s Telefonica, FedEx, Deutsche Bahn etc.
Nearly two months prior to the attack, Microsoft had released a “critical patch” providing safety from such malware to computers that install the update, however, many organizations had been too late to get on board. Keeping up to date with security updates is particularly extremely delayed in govt. or other organizations since these organizations have connotation that new updates would interfere in the smooth running of their operations or usually IT department fails to gauge the urgency of maintaining updates for prevention of any cyber – attacks. Rumours have circulated that National Cyber Security had prior knowledge about this type of attack informed by Microsoft, but they paid no heed and ignored such warning carving path towards increased severity of the attack.
As individual users, we must be extra vigilant about always keeping up to date with updates from Microsoft or other tech firms and limit too much exposure of our real life in the social media since exposing too much can have serious criminal repercussions. Use of renowned antivirus software would be effective and one thing to note is that if we are ever victimized by ransomware cyber-attacks, it is wise to not oblige to their financial demands.