By Alina Selyukh | NPR
By latest counts, more than 200,000 computers in some 150 countries have been hit by a cyberattack using ransomware called WannaCry or WannaCrypt, which locked the data and demanded payment in bitcoin. The malware was stopped by a young U.K. researcher’s lucky discovery of a kill switch, but not before it caused hospitals to divert patients and factories to shut operations.
The origins of the malicious software — which feeds on a Microsoft vulnerability — trace back to the National Security Agency: cybertools stolen from the government and posted publicly in April. Microsoft had issued a patch in March. (And here are good tips to generally secure yourself.)
“Despite numerous cyber-security breaches affecting governments, business, and individuals since the 1980s, comprehensive efforts to work against cyber-security threats are lacking. Given the nature of these breaches, governments, businesses, and individuals must work together on a global scale in the near future or run the risk of more frequent cyber-attacks and much more serious consequences.”