By now, you probably know about the Wanna Cry ransomware attack that began on May 12 that affected more than 230,000 computers across the globe.
By most accounts, this cyber attack could have been a lot worse.
The ransomware, which infected FedEx, Nissan, and Britain’s NHS, bled $300 from each target willing to pay, earned only a paltry $55,000. That means it generated profits from only 183 of nearly a quarter-million possible hostages. And those who paid weren’t guaranteed to get their files decrypted due to serious missteps by the criminals.
“These attackers weren’t as advanced as you’d think,” says Marc Blackmer, Product Marketing Manager for Industry Solutions at Cisco.
This self-propagating worm—stolen from our own NSA—luckily was corralled before it could spread throughout the United States. A kill switch (purposely built into the code) was activated when a 22-year-old U.K. cybersecurity expert named Marcus Hutchins registered a specific website domain, effectively ending the infection from spreading.
“Of course, everyone is wondering now what's going to happen when someone with some real skill and real malicious intent builds upon this,” Blackmer says.
One scenario is that the Internet will explode and we’ll revert to some analog Mad Max nightmare world where life’s basic needs can’t be met via smartphone. Uber. Amazon. Tinder. All gone. (See you in the Thunderdome, Millennials.)
Another option is that you and your company execute the following cybersecurity measures listed in our gallery, and you might just live long enough to see the robot civil war.