Governments and companies around the world began to gain the upper hand against the first wave of an unrivaled global cyberattack, even as the assault was poised to continue claiming victims this week.
More than 200,000 computers in at least 150 countries have so far been infected, according to Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency. The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre said new cases of so-called ransomware are possible “at a significant scale.”
Ransomware is a particularly stubborn problem because victims are often tricked into allowing the malicious software to run on their computers, and the encryption happens too fast for security software to catch it. Some security experts calculate that ransomware may bring in as much as $1 billion a year in revenue for the attackers.
The attack was apparently halted in the afternoon in the U.K. when a researcher took control of an Internet domain that acted as a kill switch for the worm’s propagation, according to Ars Technica.