Giant Cyberattack May Get Worse on Monday

Experts predict chaos as users log back on after weekend
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2017 5:09 PM CDT
Giant Cyberattack May Get Worse on Monday
This image shows a computer displaying a ransom message in the latest attack.   (@fendifille via AP)

As experts scramble to make heads or tails over WannaCry, a global cyberattack unleashed Friday that’s affected up to 200,000 computers in 150 countries, some fear the worst is yet to come. According to the Wall Street Journal, the spread of attacks has slowed down after a kill switch was activated by a stroke of luck, but even more computers may find the ransomware waiting for them when they log back into their systems after the weekend break. Here’s the latest on WannaCry:

  • A primer: CNN’s breakdown and timeline of the WannaCry attack, which some are calling the largest cyberattack ever executed, will catch you up to speed on what happened. The attack exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.
  • About ransomware: The anonymous attack comes in the form of ransomware, a type of malware that locks a computer’s files, making it impossible to access them. On the locked screen, users are instructed to pay up a sum within a time frame—in this case $300 to a Bitcoin account within three days. Tech blogger and expert Troy Hunt explains more in detail.
  • Windows users: If you're using Windows XP, upgrade quickly, advises a Q&A in the Irish Times. If you're already infected, the fix isn't easy, but Microsoft has the particulars.
  • Are Macs safer? In this case, yes. WannaCry affects Windows systems, but not Macs. Apple computers tend to field less attacks, but according to the International Business Times, it’s not because Mac security is impenetrable. Since PCs are more widespread, more viruses are written for them.
  • Shoring up your digital security: The New York Times outlines eight general steps that can help your digital thumbprint from mobile to desktop, like using apps such as Signal or WhatsApp when texting.
  • NSA's role: Some of the key code utilized may have been created by the NSA, reports the BBC. It raises the question of whether government agencies should disclose the vulnerabilities they've discovered.
  • Edward Snowden concurs: "In light of today's attack, Congress needs to be asking @NSAgov if it knows of any other vulnerabilities in software used in our hospitals," he wrote on Twitter.
  • Bitcoin in spotlight: Bitcoin, the anonymous digital currency, saw a drop in value on Friday from $1,800 to $1,600, according to CryptoCoin News, before it stabilized to $1,700 Saturday. Some experts think hackers might be trying to manipulate the currency to boost profits. The site looks at how the attack could affect the currency, for better or worse.
Microsoft has offered to provide extended support to all users, even those with the most ancient operating systems. (More cyberattack stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.