A massive ransomware campaign hit computer systems of hundreds of private companies and public organizations across the globe – which is believed to be the most massive ransomware delivery campaign to date.
The Ransomware in question has been identified as a variant of ransomware known as WannaCry (also known as 'Wana Decrypt0r,' 'WannaCryptor' or 'WCRY').
Like other ransomware variants, WannaCry also blocks access to a computer, encrypts its files and demands money (bitcoin) to unlock it.
Once infected with the WannaCry ransomware, victims are asked to pay up to $300 in bitcoin in order to remove the infection from their PCs; otherwise, their PCs are render edunusable, and their files remain locked.
The exploit has the capability to penetrate into machines running unpatched version of Windows XP through 2008 R2 by exploiting flaws in Microsoft Windows SMB Server.
Once a single computer in your organization is hit by the WannaCry ransomware, the worm looks for other vulnerable computers and infects them as well, rendering them unusable also.
According to a report, the ransomware attack has shut down work at 16 hospitals across the UK after doctors got blocked from accessing patient files. Another report says, 85% of computers at the Spanish telecom firm, Telefonica, has get infected with this malware.
Another independent security researcher, MalwareTech, reported that a large number of U.S. organizations (at least 1,600) have been hit by WannaCry, compared to 11,200 in Russia and 6,500 in China.
How to Protect Yourself from WannaCry
Firstly, if you haven't patched your Windows machines and servers against EternalBlue exploit (MS17-010), do it right now.
To safeguard against such ransomware infection, you should always be suspicious of uninvited documents sent an email and should never click on links inside those documents unless verifying the source.
Keep a good backup routine in place that makes copies of your data to an external storage device that is not always connected to your PC.
Make sure that you run an active anti-virus security suite of tools on your system (though there are some reports that some anti virus suites may not have stopped this infection), and most importantly, always browse the Internet safely.