On Friday, the world was hit by one of the biggest cyberattacks in recent history.
The culprit was “ransomware” known as WanaCryptOr 2.0, or WannaCry. It operates by encrypting a computer system and demanding a ransom to release it. This money would be paid in the digital currency bitcoin to an unknown source, who would — in theory, at least — provide a decryption key to unlock the system. To do all this, the software exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that is thought to have been first identified by the National Security Agency and was later leaked online.
Interpol thinks that more than 200,000 people in more than 150 countries were affected — and things could get worse. Experts are warning that many office workers could return to work Monday and find their computers compromised.
The attack was a remarkable global event. It appears to have hit first in Britain, where it effectively shut down parts of the National Health Service. But reports soon came in from all over the world. Users in China, Germany, India and the United States were among those affected.
Read the whole story from The Washington Post.