Free 800 words essay on wannacry ransomware and its impact for school and college students.
On 12th May, 2017, the world was shaken by the news of a new malware doing its rounds on the world’s computers. It was called the WannaCry Ransomware, and, within a day of its launch, so to speak, an estimated 230,000 computers had been affected. Needless to say, this gave rise to widespread panic attacks across the globe, especially in light of the recent meteoric rise in cyber crimes and online financial frauds.
The first system to have been reported to be hit was Britain’s National Health Service, closely followed by FedEx, Telefonica, and Deutsche Bahn.
So what is the huge hue and cry about this ransomware? As the name suggests, WannaCry is a malware, or virus, that is spread around to infect systems across the world. It infects computers running outdated versions of Microsoft Windows. The malware encrypts the data in the infected system, effectively shutting down all operations. The infected system receives a ransom note, to be paid in Bitcoins.
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WHAT IS WANNACRY?
WannaCry is a ransomware cryptoworm that runs on computers with an outdated Microsoft Windows operating system. Till now, all the computers that have been affected have been found to be running on Windows 7. The SMB, or Server Message Block implemented by Microsoft is vulnerable to such ransomware attack, and the ransomware takes advantage of that to enter the system through the EternalBlue exploit. Once it enters the computer, it installs a backdoor implant tool called DoublePulsar, which installs and runs the ransomware in the system. Once the system has been run in the computer, all the data is encrypted, so that the user will only see page after page of unintelligible codes, before being shown a ransom note, demanding the payment in Bitcoins, failing which all data will be permanently lost.
WHO WAS HIT?
The WannaCry ransomware affected systems across the globe, from Britain’s NHS, Spain’s Telefonica, and United States’ FedEx to Renault in France and around 120 computers in the Gujrat government’s State Wide Area Network in India. The impact continues to affect computers across the world. In fact, this is being considered one of the most malicious and potent ransomwares to have come into operation in recent times; even while efforts to kill the malware are put into place, newer resistant versions are being launched.
FAR REACHING IMPACTS
Like everything else that is great and influential, WannaCr y’s impact on the world too reaches beyond what meets the eye.
- To begin with, it was a pretty potent wake up call for organizations that did not really take note when Microsoft issued an update on Mar 2017, which would have protected the computer from ransomwares exactly like this one. The new of the ransomware saw a rush in updating of softwares and installing security updates, things that should have been done anyway, without a threat looming over our heads.
- The threat of the ransomware affected not just oganisations, but spread to individuals as well. People have started to become much more aware in the aftermath of the early WannaCry attacks, which means that non-secure websites are less likely to be opened in unprotected computers.
- This has led to a spike in antivirus sales. Not only that, cyber security firms have benefited as far as the stock market is concerned as well. A good example is the NHS situation. Sophos, the cyber security aency proudly protecting NHS and advertising the fact, saw a spike in its share prices after it became known that the NHS had been attacked, and which security system they had been using. While such negative publicity would have spelled doom at any other time, the bigger factor of having cyber security became more important.
It is not likely that the WannaCry ransomware will stop any time soon. The tech blogger MalwareTech reported finding the kill switch of the virus shortly after the attacks started to happen. It was indeed effective, but unfortunately, no sooner had the kill switch been implemented in a few cases than newer versions of the malware popped up, this time without the kill switch. This is a virulent strain of malware; it can infect the whole network if it can infect a single PC in the system. And currently, there is no surefire method of killing the malware or decrypting your files, if affected. The best bet right now would be to be careful.
- Make sure you do not open suspicious websites that don’t have a security certificate.
- Avoid pornographic websites.
- Update your computer’s antivirus system and the operating system.
- Limit network connectivity by turning off network services such as file sharing over the network.
Stay safe until this malware storm blows over. Stay cautious, and just hope that WannaCry has not wormed its way into your system.