Today there is breaking news that the WanaCrypt0r (also known as WannaCry) virus has been spreading rapidly over the past few hours, and that it has already taken down health agencies in multiple countries, as well as police forces, and businesses.
But how much will the WannaCry Ransomware cost the UK and the World? Read on…
WannaCry Ransomware is a virus that gets downloaded to computers via what appears to be a macro in Microsoft Word and other document files. The macro downloads the infected software, which is capable of spreading to other computers within a network.
WannaCry Ransomware locks up your computer and encrypts all of the content on the computer, so that if you want to access the content, you must pay the fee and hope that the system will decrypt your data.
WannaCry Ransomware asks for $300 USD in order to unlock your computer. The money has to be paid in Bitcoin, so it expects some equivalent of $300 in Bitcoin.
You can see a screenshot below.
Shocking that our @NHS is under attack and being held to ransom. #nhscyberattack pic.twitter.com/1bcrqD9vEz
— Myles Longfield (@myleslongfield) May 12, 2018
Surprisingly, the ransomware is not likely created by Russia. In fact, Russia is being attacked as well.
Generally, ransomware like this is not created by nation-states, as they don’t care to seek small amounts of money. It’s more important for them to hack missile systems, electrical grids, or information.
A large ransomware attack like WannaCry Ransomware is likely to end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2018, according to Forbes, there were 638 million ransomware attacks. In total, they estimate the cost to one business at $2.4 million.
The WannaCry Ransomware cost is much higher because of the large organizations that it targeted. We estimate that the NHS, for example, has over 1 million infected computers. If the ransom is paid, it would cost the NHS $300 million USD alone to unencrypt its files.
More likely, the NHS has offsite backups, and will need to hire a consultant to repair and restore all of its computers. That would likely cost $25-50 million.
Altogether, among all companies and organizations, the WannaCry Ransomware cost is likely to be more than $250 million.