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Computers better to be untouched amid global ransomware attacks

Computers better to be untouched amid global ransomware attacks

Posted May. 15, 2017 07:19,   

Updated May. 15, 2017 07:34


Multiple simultaneous ransomware attacks hit around 100 nations worldwide, and Korean university hospitals and corporates were also the suspected targets of the recent cybercrime.

Named as "WannaCry," the damages spread by the new ransomware is developing at a fast pace, as the new cyber attack can infiltrate computers when they are connected to Internet networks. Monday will be the turning point for Korea, as many computers at public institutions and private businesses will be turned on after the weekend.

As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, six organizations reported of a suspicious ransomware, according to the Korea Internet and Security Agency. Among those, three of them made official requests for government support as they filed damages. It was known that a university hospital requested for an investigation into a possible infection. The state security agency said it is looking into infection routes to check if it has been attacked by a ransomware. To prevent further spreading of the malware, the state agency posted a warning notice titled "Alert on Ransomware Attacks" on the security protection website "Bohonara" to explain prevention tips and infection channels on Saturday. As of Sunday, the government is planning to raise the alarm on cyber crisis.

By taking advantage of the blind spots of Microsoft Windows Operating System, the recent new ransomware can spread at a fast pace, as it can infect computers easily without downloading a separate file. The cyber terrorists who developed the malicious code encrypts important files and demands around 300 to 600 U.S. dollars (or 340,000 to 680,000 won) of bitcoins (virtual currency) to recover the files taken as hostages. Their tactic is to maximize profits by offering an affordable price, which individuals can pay.

Hyun-Seok Lim lhs@donga.com · Soo-Jung Shin crystal@donga.com