Out of the biggest security threats the came out in the past year, WannaCry was perhaps the most dangerous of them all.
To put it into perspective, WannaCry was ransomware that infected thousands of systems extremely quickly. Its known major attacks were on systems owned by a variety of big organizations like banks and financial institutions. Even Hospitals were not spared, as some hospitals in the UK were forced to shut down many of their operations just because of being affected by the menace.
Ransomware is a more sinister sort of malware that affects your system with the motive of gaining money out of it. All of the files of a user’s system get encrypted and they have only let off the hook if the user pays the demanded amount to the blackmailers.
The reason behind the spike of such attacks has been associated with the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as they enable Anonymous payments, which make it a whole lot easier for blackmailers to get their money without the fear of getting caught.
Anyway, WannaCry, which is alternatively known by other names such as Wanna Decryptor, Wanna Crypt etc. was stopped fortunately last year from wreaking further havoc as one online malware protection activities named MalwareTech accidentally stumbled on a very easy solution to the problem.
WannaCry can only affect a PC if it can ping a specific URL, but only if the URL is unregistered. MalwareTech found out that the ransomware had been built in a way that it can only work if the URL is in a way that matches its ingrained specifications, so it bought the URL, effectively converting it into a kill switch of sorts.
However, despite the problem subsiding at the point, people forgot about one thing i.e. WannaCry didn’t go anywhere, it still exists in hundreds of thousands of systems. Its just that its dormant at the moment. Sort of like putting a muzzle on the mouth of a fire breathing dragon. The dragon can still breathe fire if the muzzle breaks somehow.
And that was the main concern of Jamie Hankins of Cloudfare, the firm which now manages the URL on which Wannacry pings itself to activate.
He reminded everyone that the threat is as eminent as ever and that’s because the URL keeps getting pings from WannaCry regularly in massive numbers.