It all started on May 12 when hospitals across Britain experienced problems with their computer networks at around 12:30 pm local time. Soon after, all 16 institutions were under a massive ransomware attack that caused havoc and disrupted hospitals’ work as employees were unable to access any files on their computers. All the information, including the most basic healthcare data and medical records, was encrypted. The ransomware strain, known as WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor, requested users to pay $300 in bitcoin in order to be able to access their computers.
The next day, Microsoft released “highly unusual” Windows XP patch in order to prevent further breaches since the cyberattack seemed to target computers with Windows operating systems. The experts said that computers that did not have the latest Windows update were the ones that were under fire.
The attack spread across the globe, continuing well into the week and affecting over 150 countries, with similar incidents being reported in all parts of the world, including Russia, parts of Europe and the US. The cyber strike affected government institutions, companies and private users alike, infecting over 45,000 computers worldwide. However, Russia experienced the highest number of breaches, affecting approximately 1,000 devices including the ones of the Interior Ministry. French automaker Renault even shut down several of its factories due to the breach.
WannaCry marked the largest cyberattack in internet history and it seems that the outcome was far from reassuring. The breach caused panic and damage across the planet, proving once more how vulnerable the modern global community truly is.
In the most recent developments, researchers from Kaspersky Lab revealed evidence that hints the attack might have some connection to North Korea. However, the global incident remains widely unresolved with no real ties leading to the culprit discovered so far.