[Technology] Ransomware is Back With A Vengeance [Written by Brandon Williams]

A new outbreak of data scrambling/capturing software has hit Europe and parts of the United States, fresh off of the Ransomware attack that occurred this past May. Ransomware, based on what was learned from the first encounter, is software that is installed on a computer network and basically, as the name suggests, it locks computer files with an almost impenetrable encryption, prohibiting a user from accessing their computer or any of the files within it until they pay the fee or ransom requested. While the first round provided a small amount of monetary gain for whoever was behind this attack, people this time are wiser now and haven’t been paying the phony ransom. This time they seem to be more concerned with making an example, to show just how effortless it is for a malicious software to deter day-to-day lives of one or more countries. The Ukraine and other surrounding countries in Europe are suffering the devastating effects of the malware which paralyzed hospitals, government offices, and several large multinational corporations. Even in the United States, a few gov’t offices as well as Mondelez International, the company that owns food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco, was also affected. Due to the fact that the malware seems to require direct network contact rather than just an Internet connection to spread, it’s impact has been slowed down here in the States because of distance and lack of increased access to the Ukraine and its affected systems. That is also the reason that it hasn’t been spreading as fast as the first Ransomware outbreak which reached over 100 countries and their networks. The origin of the virus is still unknown, however, researchers charged with studying the program say whoever created it used pieces of leaked NSA code, which heightens the possibility that it was initiated by a United States-owned device. While these attacks have only been financially and inconvenience based, one can only hope that this invulnerability can be patched and reinforced before someone comes along with a higher level of skill and a more insidious agenda.