WannaCry ransomware attacks 10 schools in Taiwan

10 schools in Taiwan report being the latest victims of the WannaCry ransomware

Screenshot of message computer owners see if they have been attacked by WannaCry malware. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The WannaCry ransomware continues to wreak havoc in Taiwan with 10 schools being reported victimized by the malware, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday. 

The MOE said that 59 computers in the 10 schools were infected with the malware, however the core database systems were not affected, according to Chan Pao-chu (詹寶珠), director of the ministry's Department of Information and Technology Education.  He added that most of the computers infected were in computer labs and that the schools are not paying the ransom. 

The MOE said the majority of the schools affected were located in southern Taiwan and included universities, high schools, and junior high schools.

Chan reminded all levels of schools and education units to exercise caution and because the malware mainly attacks computers running the Windows operating system, he recommends regularly installing Windows security updates. He also recommended installing the "Windows Defender" anti-malware program, regularly backing up all files on a separate drive, and never opening suspicious software programs and files.

Should ransomware be detected on a computer, Chan advised that the device be disconnected from the Internet and drive reformatted. She also strongly advised against attempting to pay any ransom. 

The worldwide cybersecurity attack by ransomware WannaCry hit at least 150 countries and affected at least 200,000 people's computers, according to Europol Director Rob Wainwright.

In addition to schools in Taiwan, Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), a hospital in New Taipei, and a trading company in Taichung have also been hit by the WannaCry malware.   

WannaCry is disguised as an innocuous email that compromises computers' Windows operation systems once opened, it then demands a ransom of US$300 or US$600 within three days to unlock the computer, said Wainwright. 

To better protect your computer against malware such as WannaCry, Taiwan News has created a list of six ways to prevent a ransomware attack