Prevention Better Than Cure, Local Cybersecurity Experts Say

Ransomware attacks becoming bigger threat

Local cybersecurity experts are urging people to see the massive WannaCry hack as a warning signal, because while that particular ransomware isn’t having much impact on U.S. computers, other malware attacks are causing breaches here every day.

WannaCry is a ransomware that locks down data on a computer until its owner pays a fee, or ransom, to the hacker that unleashed it. It was developed as a cyberwarfare tool by the U.S. National Security Agency but stolen by hackers. Widespread reports of infections began Friday, when the British National Health Service was locked out of its computers, along with many other users. By Monday, 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries were infected. 

After the weekend, the feared second wave of infections didn’t materialize -- with the major exception of China, where many computers run on pirated software.

United States businesses remained largely unaffected Monday.

Shaun Wiggins, CEO of Soteryx in Saratoga Springs, said the company hasn’t seen a lot of reports about WannaCry, and the time difference may have helped spare the United States. The attack was underway Friday in Europe long before the business day began in the U.S., so there was time to react here.