When WannaCry hit the affect it had on such a wide range of individuals was almost unprecedented. And the aftermath as a result has had a detrimental effect on future ransomware.
An attack on this scale not only brought a huge amount of media attention, but unlike many other virus attacks WannaCry became a house hold name. Not only was it effecting ATM machines and the NHS but other companies were forced to send staff home as they were unable to operation do to the virus.
Although the total amount paid to the attacker is still unclear, it is much less than it should have been. Due to security researchers speedy response many users effected were able to avoid paying the hefty ransom. Unfortunately for any would be cyber criminals, WannaCry appears to have killed ransomware as a viable option of attack.
Because of the publicity received by WannaCry, people were made aware of these types of attacks. And security vendors such as Bitdefender soon implemented an anti-ransomware feature into their products. This features stops unauthorized applications making changes to the computer in areas they have not been given permission to.
I personally feel that if WannaCry had not have effected so many across the globe then ransomware would still be a relatively effective method of cyber-crime. But due to people’s awareness becoming greater and security vendors taking action. There are numerous sites on the internet offering guides of how to ‘defend’ against a ransomware attack, and the most common tip is to make regular backups. This method relays on the back up remains unaffected by the virus, but ultimately would allow for the user to restore their system and avoid paying the fee.
Another solution that I have seen online is to use cloud based services such as OneDrive and Google Drive. If a users personal data is backed up to a cloud service then in the event of a ransomware attack it will again remain unaffected.
Granted the solutions mentioned are not the best method for a larger organization as a cloud based services could potentially be unviable depending on the size of the organization. And to have a complete back up of every system within a large business is again not the easier thing to achieve.
While there maybe be future ransomware attacks, hopefully the number affected this time around will be significantly less than WannaCry. And my hope would be that with the increased publicity around ransomware individuals and organization have taken the steps and precautions to protect them self and their systems from an attack of these natures.