An illustration showed that once you receive an infected file typically attached to an email or a URL, an encryption key locks all your data.
With the world still getting to grips with the unprecedented global cyber attacks through the WannaCry ransomware, the group that made such an attack possible has promised that it would soon be making tools available, which could lead to similar attacks in the future.
The China Daily said Wednesday that the U.S.'s National Security Agency should take some of the blame for last week's WannaCry ransomware attack, which targeted vulnerabilities in Microsoft systems and affected 30,000 Chinese organizations alone.
A unsafe new ransomware called "WannaCry" made waves recently, affecting roughly 200,000 systems in more than 150 countries worldwide.
A 22-year old British security researcher who goes by the Twitter name MalwareTech is credited with slowing the spread of the ransomware by discovering a "kill switch" in the software that could disable the malware.
Those running Windows 10, 8.1, 7, Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2 or later are already protected from the ransomware, which had infected many systems worldwide. It essentially relies on victims clicking on or downloading the attachment, which causes the program to run and infect your computer with ransomware. "Because you can't be held for ransom for data you hold somewhere else". The ease of stopping the attack suggests the hackers were new to this game.
Thousands more infections were reported Monday in Asia, which had been closed for business when the malware first hit Friday.More news: Baby found with nearly 100 rat bites, parents charged
Microsoft released a security update to patch the vulnerability on March 14, a month before the theft of exploits from the NSA was publicly reported, Smith said.
It should be noted that Microsoft makes it clear that when an older operating system reaches end-of-life, it no longer receives free support.
"Not having those unsupported operating systems helped", he said.
In what one of the most significant cyberattacks ever recorded, computer systems from the U.K.to Russia, Brazil and the USA were hit beginning Friday by malicious software that exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system.
"The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake up call", Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, wrote in a blog post.
Computers and networks that hadn't recently updated their systems are still at risk because the ransomware is lurking.
Vox said black hat hackers have started to create new versions of the software that did not have the original WannaCry's vulnerabilities.