WannaCry Ransomware Attack Hits 74 Countries, Shuts Down Hospitals, Services in Europe

There is a major cyberattack currently unfolding in about 74 countries. Thousands of hospitals, mainly based in the UK have been hit by this attack, which is called a ransomware attack by the Russian cybersecurity agency, Kaspersky. The attack reportedly shuts down its targets and then asks for $300 worth of ransomware. Apart from UK hospitals, the attack has also hit Spain’s largest telecom company, Telefonica, and Portugal Telecom. Some universities in Italy are also reported to be crippled by the ransomware attack, which is currently unfolding in Czech Republic, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Ukraine and many other countries. Czech Republic-based cybersecurity firm Avast has so far recorded over 50,000 attacks globally since Friday afternoon.

Spain’s Gas Natural, and the electrical company Iberdrola have also been hit in this attack.

This is perhaps the biggest ransomware attack recorded in history. Cyber security experts had been cautioning the governments around the world to beware and ready for such hacks.

City services in London, Nottingham, and the counties of Hertfordshire and Cumbria are affected by the latest ransomware attack, the source of which is still unknown.

Experts are calling the latest cyberattack “WannaCry”, or WanaCrypt0r and WCry. This malware infection spreads quickly because it stems from a Windows vulnerability known as EternalBlue that allegedly originated with the NSA. In March, Microsoft released an exploit to patch this exploit, known as MS17-010. But it appears hackers were quicker that the sloppy governments around the world.

Adam Kujawa, director of malware intelligence at Malwarebytes says that he hasn’t seen anything like this.  “The spread is immense. This is nuts,” says Kujawa.