NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The cyberattack that’s targeting computers across the world is far from over. Many people could return to work Monday to find their computers frozen by hackers demanding money.
“I would say this is the worst ransomware attack that’s ever happened,” cyber security engineer Darien Huss said.
Huss says it took him 10 minutes to analyze the attack code that helped take down the worldwide ransomware that hit computers in more than 150 countries.
“A lot of security researchers commonly use just various methods of sharing samples and codes,” Huss said. “Sometimes it will be as easy as taking a screenshot from one of the programs that we used to reverse engineer malware such as this.”
Huss uncovered a kill switch for the ransomware and shared it on Twitter. At the same time — halfway around the world –a British researcher that goes by the handle “Malwaretech” stumbled onto the same solution, stopping the spread of the cyberattack.
But not before it affected at least 200,000 computers at hospitals, banks, and government agencies.
“We’ve seen the rise of ransomware becoming the principle cyber threat I think,” Europol Director Rob Wainwright said. “But this is something we haven’t seen before. This global reach is unprecedented.”
The attack forces users to pay $300 or risk their data being erased. Huss says less than 48 hours after stopping the cyberattack, new code has surface that allows the ransomware to work without the kill switch.
“The huge concern right now are all the computers that are going to be turned on at the beginning of the work week and those could still be vulnerable,” Huss added.
President Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser held emergency meetings this weekend to discuss the hacking threat.