Latest Ransomware Virus Targets Thailand, Is Laos Next?

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‘WannaCry’’ ransomeware may sound like a silly name, however this computer virus is anything but.

This global cyberattack is the latest virus that has been rapidly sweeping across 150 countries and terrorizing over 200,000 victims. Though it has yet to be seen in Laos, several digital billboard advertisements were taken hostage in Bangkok earlier this week, and officials are urging for internet users to stay vigilant.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has issued a warning for internet users to be actively cautious of the cyberattack and to avoid clicking on unsecured website or opening emails from unknown senders.

According to BGR, this malware is a type of trojan virus called “ransomware.” The virus in effect holds the infected computer hostage and demands that the victim pay a ransom in order to regain access to the files.

After being opened, the virus encrypts most of the files on a user’s computer. The software then demands that a ransom be paid in order to have the files decrypted, in this case, the software demands that the victim pays a ransom of $300 in bitcoins at the time of infection.

If no ransom is paid within three days, the amount doubles to $600. After seven days without payment, WannaCry will delete all of the encrypted files and all data will be lost.

In order to safeguard the community from the cyberattack, the ministry has urged the public to update their Windows XP, 7, 8, 9 operating systems or Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

If for some reason the computer’s operating system can not be updated, the ministry suggests to close the system’s Server Message Block or SMB and backup all documents and system files. Computer users should also have a current up-to-date antivirus program running.

Though there is no confirmed fix for WannaCry available at this time, antivirus companies and cybersecurity experts are tirelessly looking for ways to decrypt files on infected computers. Officials suggest users shutdown their computer immediately to stop the spread of the virus to other computers connected by a network.

To report an infection or for any inquiries about the virus, the public is urged to contact LaoCERT by emailing: report@laocert.gov.la or calling 030-5764222.

You can also visit https://www.laocert.gov.la for Windows operating system updates and more information on the virus.

Source: BGR, Vientiane Times

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