On Friday, May 12, 2017, a new ransomware strain known as “WannaCry” spread across the world with incredible speed and success. First, there were reports of Telefónica, Spain's largest telecom, being hit. Internal memos were sent and audio warnings were played over speakers inside the company headquarters in Madrid warning workers to immediately shut down their machines. Then, at least 40 hospitals in England's National Health Service were simultaneously affected, locking doctors and nurses out of patients' records and forcing hospitals to cancel appointments and all non-urgent surgeries. France's Renault, and its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, halted manufacturing at plants in Sandouville, France, and Romania to prevent the spread of ransomware in its systems.
The attack continued to spread at record speed across the globe infecting a variety of companies, including the Russian cellphone operator MegaFon and U.S.-based FedEx. By the time the attack could be halted, the WannaCry ransomware had reportedly hit over 300,000 devices located in over 150 countries. The attack happened using a flaw in a Microsoft system that was revealed in a release of National Security Agency information. The ransoms typically demand $300-$600 from its targets.
While this attack has captured the attention of media around the world, it is just one more in an ongoing trend of increased attacks. The attorneys in the Information Technology Transactions Group at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP advised clients a year ago on steps they could take to prevent a successful ransomware attack and the appropriate response to such an attack. If you have questions about this ransomware attack or how to better protect your organization from similar attacks, contact Nate Steed at 616.752.2723 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or your attorney at Warner.