‘ONLY A MATTER OF TIME’ UNTIL RANSOMWARE VIRUS HITS UAE, EXPERTS SAY
The virus has already hit more than 200,000 people in 150 countries.
ABU DHABI // Experts warn that the WannaCry virus, which has hit more than 200,000 people in 150 countries, will strike here – and probably already has.
There has yet to be a case reported, partly because monitoring the scale of the attack is close to impossible, and because it hit on a Friday when businesses and government departments were closed.
said Amir Kolahzadeh, chief executive and founder of internet security company IT Sec.
Some people are embarrassed to report that they have been attacked or afraid that they might be implicated in it, Mr Kolahzadeh said.
The ransomware virus automatically encrypts users’ files on infected computers using older Windows software and demands a fee to decipher the data being held hostage.
To add further pressure the virus puts a time on the demand, automatically doubling the fee within three hours, and ultimately deleting the encrypted files within six hours.
Suhail Sukkary, an IT specialist and cyber crime expert at Abu Dhabi Education Council, said that the virus could present in many ways.
He suggested people avoid opening any files for the next few days, particularly as the virus spreads exponentially with each infected device.
Mr Kolahzadeh thinks that even with increasing global cooperation and strict penalties, hackers will always regard the risk as minimal when considering the scale of the rewards, which can often be millions of dollars a day.
Mr Kolahzadeh called for even greater international cooperation to investigate of the attack but said it would not be the last large-scale attack of its kind.
UAE cyber security company DarkMatter said that “while countries like the UK and Russia seem to be the hardest hit, there have been reports of the malware appearing on computers in the GCC as well”.