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Cyber security experts warn of security concerns as workweek begins

Cyber security experts warn of security concerns as workweek begins. (File - WWMT)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Security experts are warning that the global cyberattack that began on Friday will likely be magnified as people return to their offices and turn on their computers on Monday.

The malicious software attack was spread to about 200,000 computers in about 150 countries and Newschannel 3's Mike Krafcik spoke with a computer security expert about what to do to avoid an attack.

The random attack, called "Wannacry," hit on Friday and spread like wildfire making use of a discovered exploit before being halted on Saturday by a British malware researcher and a West Michigan security engineer.

An untold number of other infected systems could be discovered when people return to work on Monday and fire up their computers.

Zach Briggs, a security consultant at Technology Solutions, an Oshtemo based IT support company said, “Most malware doesn't spread to 150 countries and coordinate computers within 24 to 48 hours.”

He said this malware attack is different than others because of how fast it's spread. It is already believed to be the biggest online extortion attack ever.

Briggs said, “It's able to infect at very a high-rate. The damages to infrastructure, corporations, health care. It's truly amazing and in some ways catastrophic.”

Darien Huss, a Newyago County resident and 28-year old cyber-security engineer, is credited with stopping the spread of the cyberattack and helping uncover a "kill switch" which he shared to twitter.

The action may have slowed the outbreak before computers in the U.S. were more widely affected.

Briggs said, “It takes one user. As much as we don't want it to happen to us, we got lucky with this one.”

Huss said less than 48-hours after stopping the cyberattack, a new code has surfaced which allows the ransomware to work without the "kill switch.” Experts say at least two new variations of the malware have already been detected.

Huss said, “The huge concern right now are all the computers that are potentially going to be turned on at the beginning of this work week and those could still be vulnerable to this.”

Experts recommend every user:

  • Make and secure backups of files.
  • Use antivirus software.
  • Update and patch your systems.

If you're facing a ransom demand in the form of a Bitcoin payment, law enforcement says never pay the ransom.

Briggs said, “Nobody is immune. If you don't keep up on your updates, if you don't keep up on your backups. There's no way to stop it. It will propagate through your network. It only takes one user.”

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