Sci & Tech

'WannaCry' Cyberattack Targets Iran Hospitals

'WannaCry' Cyberattack Targets Iran Hospitals'WannaCry' Cyberattack Targets Iran Hospitals

An estimated 200 computers in Iran have been infected by a virus called 'WannaCry', in the first reported incident by government officials after a week of thousands of computers around the world being locked by the malware.

WannaCry, otherwise known as WannaCrypt is a software which targets computers running on the Windows system and locks files until a ransom is paid in digital Bitcoins. With respect to this virus it demands an immediate $300 in the first few hours or the price would double, triple and so on.

The payment is untraceable, and the end-user or the attacker which originally sent out the virus remains a mystery to global security agencies.   

The attacks in Iran have so far mainly targeted hospitals and medical centers, local technology websites CITNA reported.

Like Britain's National Health Service which saw several hospitals and ambulance services shut down because of the virus, Iran's medical centers are often running outdated versions of Windows from more than five years ago.

Hadi Sajjadi, a deputy minister for cyber security said, “Iran's [IT] task force is on high alert [to the Wannacry malware].”

He added “Programs are being devised to prevent the further spread of the malware in the country.”

According to Sajjadi, instructions have been issued to all organization requiring them to upgrade their operating systems.

The attack has been foiled by Computer Emergency Response Coordination Center, affiliated to the  Iran Information Technology Organization that  operates under the Telcoms Ministry.

High Alert

The organization is currently on high alert and has hotlines for reporting new cases of infection.

Globally some 75,000 computers in 99 countries have been infected by the virus, said to be the biggest attack of its kind in history.

An analysis by security researcher Brian Krebs said the hackers have so far only pulled in about $26,000 for perpetrating what is believed to be one of the largest ransomware attacks in history, Gizomodo reported Sunday.

With the initial charge to unlock users’ data set at   $300, the hackers would have to get money from a lot of victims to hit the billion dollar amount they want, foreign news agencies reported.

According to security firm Redsocks, WanaCry contains three bitcoin payment addresses that are hard-coded into the malware. One of the nice things about Bitcoin is that anyone can view all of the historic transactions tied to a given Bitcoin payment address. As a result, it’s possible to tell how much the criminals at the helm of this crimeware spree have made so far and how many victims have paid the ransom.

A review of the three payment addresses hardcoded into the Wana ransomware strain indicates that these accounts to date have received 100 payments totaling slightly more than 15 Bitcoins — or approximately $26,148 at the current Bitcoin-to-dollars exchange rate.

Computer users in Iran can email or call the following numbers in case their operating system get infected by the Ransomware 021-22115950 or 021- 4265000.

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