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New ransomware variants emerging in the wild

New ransomware variants emerging in the wild
© Igor Stevanovic | Dreamstime.com

As the massive ransomware attack dubbed WannaCry, or WanaCrypt0r 2.0 continued to spread this week, IT departments worldwide scrambled to update and patch their systems to defend against this menace.

The WannaCry campaign has claimed 200,000 victims across 150 countries worldwide so far and it has targeted private companies and public organizations and has actually endangered the lives of people.

Fortunately, the campaign was halted when a 22-year-old security researcher named Marcus Hutchins found a simple kill switch that neutralized the ransomware's potency.

However, Hutchins and other security analysts warned that "this is not over." The hackers responsible for this latest ransomware assault could simply change the code (or the domain, for that matter), redeploy it and start again. Copycats can also tweak and repurpose the malware to start their own campaigns.

And it looks like soon enough, that time is now.

New WannaCry Variants

As early as Sunday morning, new variants of the WannaCry ransomware have been sprouting up, including one that lacks the "kill switch" weakness.

The new variants appear to have been manually patched by still unknown groups and were not created by the authors of the original WannaCry campaign.

The first variant with a different kill switch domain reportedly started spreading on Sunday morning and was quickly followed by an updated version that removed the kill switch. (Note: The kill switch was discovered Saturday morning.)

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