WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A massive worldwide cyberattack crippled computers across the globe in a blackmail scheme that demanded payment or else data systems would be impacted.
The attack hit computers in about 100 countries including China, Russia, France and Britain, where the National Health Service was compromised temporarily, shutting down some emergency rooms and misdirecting ambulances.
A 22-year-old cyber security researcher registered a domain accidentally, helping to thwart the cyberattack that spread malicious software around the world, shutting down networks at hospitals, banks and government agencies.
Working with a fellow cyber-sleuth in the UK, they were able to throw the so-called "kill switch" that stopped the attack in its tracks and allowed the thousands of infected systems to begin recovering from the attack, but not before more than $20,000 in bitcoin ransoms had been paid at $300 to $600 a pop.
The malware named “WannaCry” created a huge mess. The damage done by the disruption in data systems will be massive.
Pinhasi says staying safe is pretty straight-forward: backup your data, update you software and get rid of vulnerable protocols.