A worldwide cyberattack spread to thousands of computers on Monday as people logged in at work. The attack, which began on May 12, is believed to be the biggest online attack ever recorded. It has disrupted business, schools, hospitals and daily life in more than 150 countries.The cyberattacks are being done with ransomware. This is a type of software that blocks access to data until money is paid. The attack displays a message requesting payment in order to unlock it. Investigators have said it is too early to determine who is behind the attack and what their motivation is. The ransomwear, known as “WannaCry,” holds users hostage by freezing their computers. A red screen with the words, “Oops, your files have been encrypted!” pops up and money is demanded through online payment. At first the attack demands $300 – then $600. It destroys files five hours later.The attack has hit more than 200,000 victims across the world since Friday. Many companies and government agencies on Monday were struggling to recover from the attacks.
“WannaCry” has frozen computers running factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in countries including Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, India and Japan. Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was one of the first high-profile targets of Friday’s attack. Some hospitals and doctors’ offices are still struggling to recover. The NHS says about a fifth their local offices that run hospitals and clinics were hit by the attack on Friday. This led to thousands of canceled appointments and operations.In Asia, Friday’s attack occurred after business hours. Thousands of new cases were reported on Monday as people came back to work. Chinese state media said 29,372 institutions there had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices. Universities and other educational institutions in China were among the hardest hit. People in various cities said they hadn’t been able to take their driving tests over the weekend because some local traffic police systems were down.
As in the words of Eiichi Moriya, a cybersecurity expert and professor at Meiji University said “We are dealing with a invisible criminal who must be stopped”. But the real question is what do these attackers hope to achieve? And what will they do with this money they obtain? If not paid will they try and attempt to hack national security databases? We need answers.
By Kiarra Bell