The WannaCry ransomware attack made massive headlines, and with good reason. But who’s to blame? As I see it, four separate entities caused the disasters: the criminal hackers, Microsoft, the NSA, and the victims. If any one of them had acted as they should have, the disaster would never have happened.
Appearing on Friday, May 12, WannaCry – also known as WannaCrypt, WanaCryt0r, and Wanna Decryptor – infected nearly a quarter million computers in a very short time. And it didn’t just hit hapless users in one or two countries. Victims included Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), FedEx, and Deutsche Bahn. According to Wikipedia, the worst-hit countries were Russia, Ukraine, India and Taiwan.
Let’s take a look at all four of the culprits, and one important hero.
Culprit #1: The Hackers
These are the culprits who belong in prison. They’re criminals, using their computer skills to extort money from people and organizations.
Like all forms of ransomware, WannaCry is basically an extortion racket. When the malware infects a computer, it encrypts all data that it finds. Then it pops up a message demanding a ransom payment in untraceable bitcoin. If you don’t pay up in time, you lose family photos, business records, important reports, spreadsheets, and any other data on the PC.