We've been warning you for quite some time that ransomware attacks are nasty. This, of course, is when cybercriminals encrypt important files on your gadget and demand a ransom to give you access to them again.
In most cases, the victim clicks on a malicious link, which leads to their device being infected. However, the largest known attack to date, dubbed WannaCry, worked in a more devious fashion.
The U.S. government now claims it knows who was behind this massive attack.
Who was responsible for WannaCry?
WannaCry ransomware started spreading in May. The attack crippled banks, hospitals and other companies in over 150 countries worldwide.
As we said earlier, typically a ransomware victim clicks a malicious link before their gadget is infected. The WannaCry attack was different. It was deployed via a worm and spread itself between vulnerable computers connected to the same network.
Once a gadget is infected with WannaCry, its files are encrypted and a ransom note appears on the screen. The criminals behind the attack then demanded payment in Bitcoin to decrypt the victim's device.
Now, the U.S. government is blaming North Korea for the WannaCry attack. More specifically, hackers known as the Lazarus Group. It's a hacking group, which works on behalf of the North Korean government.
Homeland Security Adviser to President Trump, Tom Bossert, made the claim this week in an editorial piece published in The Wall Street Journal.
Bossert said, "The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible. North Korea acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious. WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless.
"The consequences and repercussions of WannaCry were beyond economic. The malicious software hit computers in the U.K.'s health-care [sic] sector particularly hard, compromising systems that perform critical work. These disruptions put lives at risk."
At this point, it's unclear how the U.S. and other impacted countries around the world will respond to these allegations. As citizens, it's a scary situation. Not only do we need to worry about cybercriminals sending ransomware attacks but foreign governments as well.
Protecting your data is critical
Backing up your critical data is also an important safety precaution in the fight against ransomware. It's the best way to recover encrypted files without paying a ransom.
We recommend using our sponsor, IDrive. You can back up all your PCs, Macs and mobile devices into ONE account for one low cost!