Ransomware is a Growing Global Cyber Security Threat

The latest Ransomware attack began on Tuesday and the first reports from those affected came from Ukraine where it is believed to be the worst attack of this kind the country has ever seen. Ukraine has blamed Russia for cyber attacks in recent years, however Russia has denied involvement and the attackers are not yet known.

Latest cyber attacks are more sophisticated

Since Tuesday, the attack has spread fast, hitting companies across the world in the UK, US, Germany, Norway and Russia. It is sophisticated enough to get past the security systems of large organisations and has caused disruption to computers belonging to members of government in Ukraine, banking and transport services, including Ukraine’s largest airport.  The British advertising company WPP have also been affected.

Attacks happening more frequently

This latest attack follows a separate one last Friday which targeted the House of Parliament and compromised up to 90 accounts. The virus got into systems by searching through most common and therefore weak passwords to try to access accounts of MPs and their staff. Prior to this attack, the WannaCry ransomware attack reached 150 countries last month but is most well known here for locking down the computers within the NHS.

What happens when a device is affected?

The devices affected by this latest attack are locked with a message shown on the screen, explaining you cannot access your files unless a ransom in ‘Bitcoin’ worth £235 is paid. It is recommended that the ransom is NOT paid as there is no guarantee that you will be able to recover anything lost (you are dealing with criminals!) There have been reports that the same victims have been affected more than once, so even once a ransom is paid, there could be more hidden Malware lurking in the system. Most importantly, if nobody pays then these criminals will not be able to profit from these scams.

For information about how to protect yourself against Ransomware and what to do if you are a victim, read our How to protect against Ransomware guide.

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Author: Dylan Jones

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