Friday afternoon brought about a massive international ransomware cyber attack. Beginning at National Health Service hospitals in the United Kingdom, the attack quickly spread to 74 countries in a matter of hours. Over the weekend, additional developments have solidified this attack as the largest the world's ever experienced.
- The infection has since spread to more than 200,000 machines in 112 countries according to a Czech security firm's blog post.
- According to Reuters, Cyence, a cyber risk modeling firm out of California, the estimated economic burden created by halted business has surpassed $4 billion.
- With many of the infected computers running outdated versions of Microsoft software, Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, expressed his views on the attack in a blog post: “We’ll assess this attack, ask what lessons we can learn and apply these to strengthen our capabilities. Working through our Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and Digital Crimes Unit, we’ll also share what we learn with law enforcement agencies, governments, and other customers around the world. This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem. This is an emerging pattern in 2017. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.”
- With the amount of random demanded at each infecting starting at $300, rising to $600 by Monday. A total of 82 victims have paid the ransom totaling $25,000, according to The Guardian.
- Marcus Hutchins, a 22-year-old tech blogger, is credited with stopping the spread of the infection when he “accidentally” engaged the kill switch to the malware used after registering a domain name used in the software at a cost of $10.69, according to The Guardian.