WannaCry is a software that has infected and taken control of Microsoft-operating software computers in at least 150 countries, requiring the owners to hundreds of dollars to obtain their files beginning Friday, May 12, 2017. The hacking tool was made possible by a backdoor in Microsoft's Windows software which was used by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) for its own use. The tool ended up in the hands of a mysterious hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers, which also published the exploits online. There has been a recurrent theme of the creation of backdoor exploits that leak into the the public domain and cause widespread damage (Volz, 2017).
Fortunately, a 22-year-old malware researcher by the name of MalwareTech, has inadvertently halted the spread of (one version of) WannaCry by purchasing a unregistered domain name in the randsomware for $10.69. While MalwareTech significantly prevented the spread of WannaCry, it is still possible for out-of-date Windows computers to become infected through other domain names (Larson, 2017).
MalwareTech stated, "...my registartion of [the domain] caused all infections globally to believe they were inside a sandbox and exit…thus we initially unintentionally prevented the spread and and further ransoming of computers infected with this malware. Of course now that we are aware of this, we will continue to host the domain to prevent any further infections from this sample" ("How to Accidentally Stop a Global Cyber Attacks | MalwareTech", 2017).
How to Accidentally Stop a Global Cyber Attacks | MalwareTech. (2017). Malwaretech.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017, from https://www.malwaretech.com/2017/05/how-to-accidentally-stop-a-global-cyber-attacks.html
Larson, S. (2017). Researcher accidentally stops massive cyberattack from spreading. KHON2. Retrieved 20 May 2017, from http://khon2.com/2017/05/13/researcher-accidentally-stops-massive-cyberattack-from-spreading/
Volz, D. (2017). Ransomware attack again thrusts U.S. spy agency into unwanted spotlight. Reuters. Retrieved 20 May 2017, from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-attack-blame-idUSKCN18C02D?il=0
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