SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday marks day five of a cyberattack that is being described by Europol as unprecedented.
The WannaCry ransomware attack has infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries. Because one line of code can be removed in order to stop one version of the virus, all it takes is a new line of code to keep it going indefinitely.
"Ninety-five percent of infections that happen across our line of work in cyber security is the uneducated user," said Jeff Medina of IP Secure. "This is just a new iteration of a virus or ransomware that can be leveraged to exploit individuals."
The WannaCry ransomware attack targeted a weakness in older Windows operating systems. Users were told they had to fork over $300 in ransom in order to decode their files, and if they didn't their files would be wiped out.
Marcus Hutchins is a surfer enthusiast and computer whiz who lives in England. He said he stumbled across a sample of malicious code which was linked to an unregistered web address.
Hutchins said he registered the domain which stopped the virus from spreading.
"I have had people inundating me with messages thanking me saying I'm a hero I mean all I did was register this domain for tracking and I didn't intend for it to sort of blowup and to be all over the media," Hutchins said.
So what can people do to keep their own computers safe?
"If folks are keeping their OS systems updated, security mitigation tactics, any common vulnerability and exploitation mitigation tool set updated," Medina suggested.
Remember to never click on links in emails from senders you don't know. However, if your system is attacked Medina said there is a way out.
"These individuals can reach out to organizations such as ours IP Secure, and we can help provide remediation we can go in and retroactively sanitize their machines provide remediation and mitigation of future attempts," Medina said.
Medina also told KENS 5 to never pay the ransom that the thieves are requesting because even if they get the money, odds are you won't get your files back.
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