WannaCry: How the Widespread Ransomware Changed Cybersecurity

WannaCry: How the Widespread Ransomware Changed Cybersecurity

If I had polled cybersecurity experts on their way to work on May 12, 2017, most of them would have said they knew a major cybersecurity event loomed.


Yet, on that day no one expected that they were walking into the perfect storm — in the form of WannaCry ransomware, the most damaging cyberattack to date — when they traveled by car, train or ferry to their respective offices that spring morning.


Our devices, systems and networks are more and more interconnected — meaning viruses can much more easily move between systems than they’d been able to in the past. But without a major event in recent memory, most of us (even a cybersecurity journalist like myself) became a bit complacent. When you combined these factors with the number of active devices and systems, the stage was set.

Inside this article


WannaCry Destroyed Systems Across the Globe


This ransomware attack was the biggest cybersecurity event the world had ever seen in part because the impact was wider than the outbreak itself. It created huge aftershocks across enterprises, politics, the hacker community and cybersecurity culture.


Even after the kill switch was found, the virus continued to ravage every system and all the data it touched — attacking computer systems of 300 organizations in 150 countries.



Even after the kill switch was found, the virus continued to ravage every system and all the data it touched — attacking computer systems of 300 organizations in 150 countries.



Russia suffered the single highest number of infection attempts of any country worldwide, according to the BBC. Most mission-critical servers were not affected, however, as they ran a Soviet-era software known as Elbrus. However, technical immunity didn’t stop the virus from spreading to computers across the country. It to ..