Global cyberattack targets healthcare facilities, business across the world | What Is IT?
Brazil is the latest nation to be affected by Friday's global cyberattack.
It infected computers at healthcare facilities and businesses across the world, leaving thousands of companies vulnerable.
This attack is alarming because of its size and how fast it spread --hitting more than 70 countries including the U.S., U.K., India, Spain, China, and Russia.
A 22-year-old British researcher is being credited for "accidentally" stopping the global cyberattack.
The cyberattack on Friday hit hundreds of thousands of computers around the globe at hospitals, government offices, transportation systems and major companies.
The attack appeared to be the largest cyberattack of its kind in history.
Hackers used a Microsoft Windows flaw --- the leaked flaw was once secretly used as a cyber weapon by the U.S. National Security Agency.
“Cyber hacking can damage or even destroy our transport industries, our scientific research, our health service and indeed a lot of our education services," said Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader.
Hackers exploited the software to infect computers with ransomware that's called "Wanna Cry."
They did it through spam email and attachments.
What does the ransomware do exactly?
Well, it locks your computer -- holding your data hostage.
The result-- a user must then either pay a ransom - or their data will be deleted.
“We all rely on computers and instant information, our health records and all that goes with it but what we have got is a bunch of 21st century highway robbers that have hacked into our NHS and basically offering protection money to get information back in order to treat cancer patients or anybody else. It is unbelievably disgusting," said Corbyn.
This virus affected 20 percent of Britain’s National Health Service-- most of which is back online now.
However, many were forced to cancel routine procedures and emergency room services were scaled down.
The U.K. prime minister called the attack on hospitals absolutely disgusting.
In the midst of all the chaos, a young British researcher happened to stumble upon and activate a "kill switch" stopping the spread of the global cyberattack.
The young man, whose twitter handle is Malware Tech Blog, said it was an
He outlined how he happened to buy a random domain name for just $10.69.
By purchasing that domain and registering it, the young researcher said he activated a kill switch that immediately slowed down the spread of the malware.
Going forward, we will ensure that the National Cyber Security Centre is able to continue to advise and support, as they are doing for this particular attack that has taken place. There's no evidence that patient records have been compromised
Microsoft had released a security update to protect against this very attack in March.
All Microsoft Windows users are urged to download it.
At this time, no one has claimed responsibility yet for the attack.