As some of you have no doubt heard, beginning on Friday and over the weekend, and I suspect into the week, there have been multiple cyber-attacks executed on multiple computer infrastructures around the world - in what is quickly becoming one of the largest cyber-attacks on record.
The hackers apparently used software that was stolen from the National Security Agency and used it to exploit infrastructures like Britan's public health system and Russia's Interior Ministry, along with thousands of computers elsewhere around the world.
By early Saturday morning, the attacks had spread to over 74 countries. The exploit itself was a ransomware type attack. In simple terms the hackers send out emails with the malicious software attached, the user opens the email and downloads the attachment and the software immediately starts encrypting your data. The hackers say they will give your data back to you for a fee, usually payable by bitcoin. In this particular case, the hackers used a software called Wanna Decryptor, which is an evolved form of the WannaCry Ransomware. The software, the same software that was stolen from the NSA (supposedly, but most likely) was designed specifically to attack vulnerabilities within Windows Servers, which is one of the reasons why it spread so fast.
Unfortunately, there is little you can do after the fact. You either have to pay the ransom, which I highly do not recommend, or you need to start from scratch. If you have all of your important data backed up, the effects, aside from downtime, will likely be minimal, if however, you don't have your data backed up, well. you are SOL. MORAL of the story people, be vigilant and BACK-UP your data.
I also urge you, to not pay the ransom. Not only does this help fund these black hat hackers, which allows them to continues these types of cyber attackers, but there is also no guarantee that when you pay, they will actually give you back your data. Additionally, paying them could put you on their radar for future cyber-attacks.