As Hackers Hold Ransom From Around 80 Countries … Security Expert Warns Jamaicans Against Downloading Viruses For Free | Stories of lead


The economic hardships faced by internet users across the world are cited as playing an important role in causing a large number of people to fall victim to hackers and scammers.

Local information security consultant Damian Donaldson made the observation in the wake of what is considered to be one of the biggest cyberattacks the world has ever seen.

Since last week, hackers have demanded ransom from institutions in around 80 countries via a type of malware called ransomeware, which prevents computer users from accessing their software files until the specified requests. be satisfied.


Britain’s public healthcare system has been badly hit as its data is entered, forcing information owners to pay large sums before the data is released. The impact was also felt as far away as Russia, and Jamaica’s Minister of Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley said his ministry was monitoring the situation.


Yesterday Donaldson said that even after hackers’ requests have been met, there is no guarantee that the information will be released.

“Basically you are writing a program that circumvents the system’s security hole, and what they do once they put it on the system is encrypt, scramble the information on the computer, and they tell the owners of the system that you have to pay some money, and if you pay the money, we provide you with the means to decrypt or decipher the information. It’s similar to an extortion racket, “he said. he declared.

Donaldson, warning individuals even though the current hacker activity has primarily affected institutions, noted that people often have very insignificant defenses and in many cases gravitate too much towards bootlegging and downloading. cracks for software.

“Those systems that are under attack often are not up to date with their security patches and security updates. Sometimes this is due to user error. [Internet] behviour. They go to risky websites. Instead of buying a legitimate copy of Windows, some people download a pirate copy. In the pirate copy, the attackers rig things to gain access to their machines and from there they can launch attacks, ”he said.

“It’s a big problem, especially in developing countries. There are a lot of them in Asia and African countries, where the economic situation is difficult and people will rush to get free rather than paying a high price. Computers under the control of attackers [have] a lot of contraband going on. “


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