It is often advised to not click links and to download attachments and files that come from sources you do not know. This is because sometimes these links or downloads can lead to the installation of malware that can either open up a backdoor to your computer for hackers to get in, or in some cases lead to ransomware.
While ransomware does pop up from time to time, it seems that at the moment there are reports of what could be one of the biggest ransomware attacks in recent times. According to security company Avast, it has been detected that there are over 75,000 ransomware attacks that have taken place today, which has also managed to spread to 99 countries around the world.
It has also managed to infect computer systems such as England’s National Health Services, and Spanish telecom company Telefonica has also reportedly been infected as well.
The ransomware in question is called “WannaCry” and it is reportedly said to have been developed by the US NSA. The ransomware in question was designed to exploit a weakness in Microsoft systems that was identified by the agency and given the codename EternalBlue. However the tools created by the NSA were reportedly stolen by a group of hackers known as The Shadow Brokers who tried to sell them off in an auction, although they later made them freely available.
In a statement released by Homeland Security, “Individual users are often the first line of defense against this and other threats, and we encourage all Americans to update your operating systems and implement vigorous cybersecurity practices at home, work, and school.”