The malicious malware that brought down much of the NHS in the UK along with hundreds of other global organisations was halted by accident, thanks to an off duty IT worker.
The man, known only by the pseudonym MalwareTech, was on a weeks holiday from work, when the news broke of the ransomware attack. He decided to look into it anyway.
The 22-year-old discovered a “kill switch” hidden within the code of the malware.
He had been perusing the code all night, when he stumbled upon the answer. He did however admit that although his solution prevented infections to any new computers, he could not undo damage already done.
As a reward for locating the solution, his boss gave him another week off.
So how did he stop the malware?
Upon investigation, he noticed the rogue code was attempting to contact a web address, when it infected a new computer. He ascertained that the web URL had not been registered, so he decided to do just that.
He purchased the domain for $10.69 (£8) simply because owning it, would permit him to see where the machines were accessing it from. When he had made the purchase, a trigger fired, informing the code to stop advancing.
This is known as a “kill switch” which many code writers put in place in case things get out of hand.
However despite his efforts, more malware is likely to be on its way. Organisations will be working hard to put preventative measures in place.
Source : BBC
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