Despite a “highly unusual” patch from Microsoft to update their long unsupported operating systems and an apparent “kill code” that could allegedly bring an end to the ransomware, the Wanncrypt/Wannacry attack continues to grow around the globe. According to BBC News, at least “200,000 victims in at least 150 countries” have been affected by the bug and the biggest threat seems to be businesses still running outdated or unsecured Windows systems. The attack began its spread on Friday, hitting computers in Russia, Europe, and the UK, and nearly bringing the National Health Service in England to a halt.
According to the New York Times, the kill switch was only a temporary stop to the spread of the bug and the hackers behind the attack could “create a variant” of their domain and continue, something Comae Technologies Matthieu Suiche expected them to do. Now that the ransomware is back on the move, Europol’s Rob Wainwright is fearing the worst:
“At the moment, we are in the face of an escalating threat,” he told the British network ITV on Sunday. “The numbers are going up. I am worried about how the numbers will continue to grow when people go to work and turn their machines on Monday morning.”
Among the organizations hit were FedEx in the United States, the Spanish telecom giant Telefónica, the French automaker Renault, universities in China, Germany’s federal railway system and Russia’s powerful Interior Ministry. The most disruptive attacks infected Britain’s public health system, where surgeries had to be rescheduled and some patients were turned away from emergency rooms.