Yesterday, we brought you a story about a world-wide cyber attack that floored hospitals, telecommunications and other services. While much of the damage of the attack is still untold, it appears that the threat has been neutralised – by accident.
The Guardian is reporting a United Kingdom-based computer science researcher managed to stop the hack in its tracks – by purchasing an unused domain for around $14.
By purchasing the domain, a ‘kill switch’ was effectively triggered which undermined the spread of the malware.
As reported specifically “The switch was hardcoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it spreading. This involved a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to – just as if it was looking up any website – and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading.”
On Twitter, the researcher responsible for halting one of the biggest cyber attacks ever basically admitted that the whole thing was an accident.
As yet, it appears the kill switch has worked, meaning that much of the damage has stopped spreading. That said, organisations across the globe are still counting the costs of the attack.
Hospitals were forced to cancel screenings and go ‘old school’ in attempts to ensure patient well being. Europe was hardest hit by the attack, with researchers waking up to the potential danger in time to at least partially stop the spread to North and South America, along with Australia.
Stay tuned to Lost At E Minor for updates as the story unfolds.