WannaCry topped last year’s ransomware infection list, according to a new report released by Precise Security. More than 23.5 percent of devices were eventually targeted by ransomware, with spam and phishing messages still the most common source of infection last year, According to Precise Security. No less than 67% of ransomware infections are transmitted via email, and lack of network security training and weak password and access management are the main reasons computers are encrypted after an attack.
The report shows that the number of ransomware attacks targeting government agencies, health care, the energy sector and education continues to increase. Some simple ransomware locks the system in a difficult way, but more advanced malware exploits a technique called cryptovirus ransomware.
The WannaCry ransomware outbreak occurred in May 2017, when the first Windows computers were infected through an NSA vulnerability called EternalBlue. Microsoft quickly released patches to block the vulnerability, including the unsupported Windows XP operating system, but many users are still using devices that aren’t patched.
Like other ransomware infections, WannaCry encrypts files stored on the device and requires users to pay for decrypting keys. WannaCry’s attackers demanded that victims pay in Bitcoin, which, according to statistics, caused about $4 billion in damage worldwide.
WannaCry has created a series of high-profile victims, including the NHS in the UK, which operates unpatched Windows, mainly Windows XP. Patching devices and keeping security software fully up to date is the easiest way to stop WannaCry attacks without opening messages and files from untrusted sources.