“In mid-April, an arsenal of powerful software tools apparently designed by the NSA to infect and control Windows computers was leaked by an entity known only as the ‘Shadow Brokers,'” Sam Biddle reports for The Intercept. “Not even a whole month later, the hypothetical threat that criminals would use the tools against the general public has become real, and tens of thousands of computers worldwide are now crippled by an unknown party demanding ransom.”

“The malware worm taking over the computers goes by the names ‘WannaCry’ or ‘Wanna Decryptor.’ It spreads from machine to machine silently and remains invisible to users until it unveils itself as so-called ransomware, telling users that all their files have been encrypted with a key known only to the attacker and that they will be locked out until they pay $300 to an anonymous party using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin,” Biddle reports. “At this point, one’s computer would be rendered useless for anything other than paying said ransom.”

“According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind. The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware,’ and ‘the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker,'” Biddle reports. “Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over 9 million computers in nearly 200 countries.”

Read more in the full article here.

“An ‘accidental hero’ has halted the global spread of the WannaCry ransomware, reportedly by spending a few dollars on registering a domain name hidden in the malware,” Olivia Solon reports for The Guardian. “A UK cybersecurity researcher tweeting as @malwaretechblog, with the help of Darien Huss from security firm Proofpoint, found and activated a ‘kill switch’ in the malicious software.”

“The switch was hardcoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it spreading. This involved a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to – just as if it was looking up any website – and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading,” Solon reports. “‘I saw it wasn’t registered and thought, ‘I think I’ll have that,” he is reported as saying. The purchase cost him $10.69. Immediately, the domain name was registering thousands of connections every second.”

Solon reports, “The kill switch won’t help anyone whose computer is already infected with the ransomware, and and it’s possible that there are other variants of the malware with different kill switches that will continue to spread.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Microsoft Tax is the gift that keeps on giving.

Windows sufferers: Get rid of that upside-down and backwards fake and get a real Mac.

SEE ALSO:
USB Kill 2.0 can destroy any Windows PC in seconds, Apple Macintosh unaffected – September 12, 2016
The Microsoft Tax: Malicious worm on Skype lets hackers hold Windows PCs for ransom; Macintosh unaffected – October 10, 2012
The Microsoft Tax: Critical Windows flaw affects millions of high-value PCs with self-replicating attacks – March 13, 2012
The Microsoft Tax: Virus infects Windows PC control systems of US Predator and Reaper drones – October 8, 2011
The Microsoft Tax: ‘Indestructible’ botnet attacks millions of Windows PCs; Macintosh unaffected – July 1, 2011
The Microsoft tax: Stuxnet computer worm infects Microsoft’s porous Windows OS; Mac unaffected – September 27, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: New undetectable Windows trojan empties bank accounts worldwide; Mac unaffected – August 11, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Windows zero-day flaw exposes users to code execution attack; Mac unaffected – August 09, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Critical flaw lets hackers take remote control of Windows PCs; Mac unaffected – August 07, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: New attack bypasses every Windows XP security product tested; Mac unaffected – May 11, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: McAfee correctly identifies Windows as malware; Macintosh unaffected – April 21, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: DNS Windows PC Trojan poses as iPhone unlock utility; Mac and iPhone unaffected – April 15, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: 1-in-10 Windows PCs still vulnerable to Conficker worm; Macintosh unaffected – April 08, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: 74,000 Windows PCs in 2,500 companies attacked globally; Mac users unaffected – February 18, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Widespread attacks exploit Internet Explorer flaw; Macintosh unaffected – January 22, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Windows 7 zero-day flaw enables attackers to cripple PCs; Macintosh unaffected – November 16, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows 7 flaw allows attackers to remotely crash PCs; Macintosh unaffected – November 12, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows virus delivers child porn to PCs, users go to jail; Mac users unaffected – November 09, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Worms infest Windows PCs worldwide; Mac users unaffected – November 02, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Banking Trojan horse steals money from Windows sufferers; Mac users unaffected – September 30, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Serious Windows security flaw lets hackers to take over PCs; Macintosh unaffected – July 07, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows Conficker worm hits hospital devices; Macintosh unaffected – April 29, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Conficker virus begins to attack Windows PCs; Macintosh unaffected – April 27, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Conficker’s estimated economic cost: $9.1 billion – April 24, 2009