A malicious computer virus known as the Wannacrypt Ransomware (a.k.a Wannacry, WCrypt or WannaCry Decryptor), is going around infecting computer systems of organisations and even personal computers as well.

The virus has since reached our shores – so far, it has been found in our shopping malls, with at least two being hit with the infection.

The virus notifies users via a pop-up window that files on a computer are encrypted, but can be decrypted for a small fee of $300.

Check out this photo showing what the virus’ notification looks like, uploaded onto the Facebook group Singapore Cyber Security Enthusiasts yesterday (May 13).

Photo via Hang Lima Jebat’s Facebook post

The photo was taken at Tiong Bahru Plaza.

Here’s what the readable part of the notification says:

What Happened to My Computer?

Your important files are encrypted.

Many of your documents, photos, videos, databases and other files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted.

Maybe you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but do not waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.

Can I Recover My Files?

Sure, we guarantee that you can recover all your files safely and easily. But you have not so enough time (sic)

You can decrypt some of your files for free. Try now by clicking < Decrypt >

But if you want to decrypt all your files, you need to pay.

You only have 3 days to submit the payment. After that the price will be doubled.

Also, if you don’t pay in 7 days, you won’t be able to recover your files forever.

We will have free events for users who are so poor that they couldn’t pay in 6 months.

How Do I Pay?

Payment is accepted in Bitcoin only. For more information, click < About bitcoin >. Please check the current price of Bitcoin and buy some bitcoins. For more information, click < How to buy bitcoins >.

And send the correct amount to the address specified in this window.

After your payment, click < Check Payment >. Best time to check, 9:00am – 11:00am.

(At the bottom, it says “send $300 worth of Bitcoin to this address.”)

This may seem like the obvious work of a computer virus or malware (malicious software programme) to most of us.

However, it seems that a few not-so-savvy victims had fallen for the malware’s ploy.

Screenshot via Hang Lima Jebat’s Facebook post

There’s more, too.

This electronic shopfront at Desigual at Orchard Central was also plagued by the same issue, according to Facebook user Vladimir Ivanov’s photo.

Photo via Vladimir Ivanov’s Facebook comment

Wannacrypt’s trail of destruction has been reported by the UK-based IT news website The Register and Forbes as well.

The virus is based on an old bug codenamed Eternalblue used by the US’ National Security Agency in the past to hijack their targets and to spy on them.

It was stolen and leaked online in April, which then gave anyone a free pass to tinker with it.

Currently, several countries have been hit by the virus. It’s been nasty, causing hospitals across the United Kingdom’s National Health Service system to turn away non-emergency patients as their systems shut down.

In Asia, reports from Taiwan say that individuals have found the malware in personal computers as well.

What should I do to prevent my computer from becoming a victim?

As a general guideline:

1) Update your system 

2) Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware programmes are up to date

3) Ensure you do not click on suspicious attachements in emails and suspicious emails as well

Apparently, once Wannacrypt enters a computer system, there’s not much that can be done at the moment, but researchers are working on fixing the problem.

Therefore prevention is the best medicine.

As the malware seems to target Microsoft computers, the company has since issued security patches to address the vulnerabilities.

The updates covers old Microsoft systems such as XP, 8 and Server 2003, which is now broadly available for download. Windows 10 computers are currently unaffected.

To protect your data, it’s best to get the latest security fixes on your computers.

 

Here’s an article you should check out:

We cycled through 700 years of Singapore history just to write this article
The price of this whiskey that S’pore helped develop really got no chill

 

Top image via Hang Lima Jebat’s Facebook post and Vladimir Ivanov’s Facebook comment

If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates.