‘WannaCry’ Ransomware Attack Impacts 70 Countries

A malicious ransomware attack named "WannaCry" that locks down data from its owner and demands money before relenting has impacted countries around the globe May 12.

According to BBC News, more than 70 countries have been affected as of 5 p.m. EDT, with Russia and Spain taking the hardest hit. The report also said the ransom would need to be paid in online currency such as Bitcoin.

Security blog Avast said it has tracked more than 57,000 detections, and the virus first appeared at 8 a.m. CET, then began its widespread attack at 10 a.m. CET. 

Giant organizations were feeling the impact and stating it publically. FedEx said in a statement:

"Like many other companies, FedEx is experiencing interference with some of our Windows-based systems caused by malware. We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible. We regret any inconvenience to our customers.”

In the UK, Britain’s countrywide health system was also infected, as hospitals and doctors were forced to turn away patients and postpone appointments when computer data was scrambled, according to the Telegraph.

In a statement, Barts Health group, which manages major London hospitals, said:

“We are experiencing a major IT disruption and there are delays at all of our hospitals.”

How can users protect themselves from potential ransomware scams? Check the following list:

  • Don’t click on links, or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. The links may lead to malicious websites and attachments may already be infected.
  • Always install software updates as soon as they’re available
  • Don’t pay extortion demands; there’s no guarantee your files will be restored if you do indeed pay