Not everyone in the world is aware of how serious cyber attacks can be and how they can kill people, especially when the systems attack control hospitals, ambulances, traffic lights and anything that keeps people safe and alive. Well for a tech wiz who happens to love surfing, he knew the impact of the recent global cyber attacks could cost lives, and so without being asked to help, he and his friends worked on finding the solution.
The attack on Friday, May 12, using a type of malware known as ransomware, affected computer equipment around the world in over 100 countries and it affected systems of various sorts. But the most concerning was that of the NHS’ (National Health Services) systems in the United Kingdom. Operations were cancelled, patient records were inaccessible, ambulances were diverted. It was chaotic.
Thanks to the heroic effort of a 22-year-old surfer based in Newquay, named Marcus Hutchins, the crisis was resolved. Known through his twitter account as Malware Tech, the self-taught tech wiz who is believed to be working for a US company, worked for several hours on his computer to find the solution to the potentially devastating problem caused by the cyber attacks.
Malware Tech’s Lab:
The malware lab is now running 15 VMs nearly silently pic.twitter.com/oyUZylj2Qr
— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) May 8, 2017
His knowledge and background in tracking botnets and other kinds of malware helped him find the solution to the problem. Equipped with the sophisticated gadgets in his Malware Lab, he accidentally found an unregistered domain name buried in the malware and when he registered the domain, he stopped the malware.
“I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after I registered it, so initially it was accidental,” he told the Guardian. “So I can only add ‘accidentally stopped an international cyber attack’ to my resume,” he added.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a user’s data, then later on demands payment in exchange for unlocking the data. This attack used a piece of malicious software called “WanaCrypt0r 2.0” or WannaCry, that exploits a vulnerability in a Windows operating system. Although Microsoft has released a patch that is meant to fix the flaw, computers that have not installed the update remain vulnerable to such attacks.
The accidental hero warned people to patch their systems because the attackers will realize how it has been stopped and they will definitely change the code and then start again. He recommends to enable Windows Update, update and then reboot the computers.
When he is not working on stopping malware threats, Malware Tech usually tweets various photos of the surf along Devon Coast. He normally shares photos of himself running out to well-overhead, stormy UK surf and posted a video of Francisco Porcella surfing Nazaré and added the caption: “This place is definitely high up on my visit list.” Judging by his surf posts, it would appear that Malware Tech really knows how to surf.
Click to Subscribe for regular updates on surfboard reviews and surf news by BlinkSurf.