Ransomware sweeping globe scores most lucrative day

Ransomware sweeping globe scores most lucrative day
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Monday is already the most lucrative day in the four-day run of the Wanna Cry "ransomware" that has wreaked havoc across the world. 

Ransomware debilitates normal computer use until a user pays a ransom. Wanna Cry, like most ransomware not targeted at mobile devices, encrypts files and charges for the decryption key. Victims are instructed to pay via bitcoins, an electronic currency that is hard to track.

But while bitcoins make it hard to link an account with an account's owner, all transactions are public. It is possible to look at how much money any account receives in real time. 

A single bitcoin is worth around $1,750.

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The three accounts known to be used by Wanna Cry made 5.78 bitcoin Friday, 9.67 bitcoin Saturday, 5.50 bitcoin Sunday and more than 12 bitcoin Monday a little before 9:30 a.m. In total, victims have paid more than $57,000.

Over the weekend, many experts worried that there would be an explosion in infections noticed for the first time on Monday as people returned to work. That appears to have been borne out. Wanna Cry surpassed its previous high of 9.67 bitcoin in a day at 9:24 a.m.

Various websites post transaction data for bitcoin. Twitter user and information security aficionado @m0rb posts an automated live stream of ransom payments.

Wanna Cry, also known as WanaCrypt0r and WanaDecrypt, caused historic damages the day it went public. It was responsible for hospital closings in the United Kingdom, caused work stoppages at a Spanish telecom, infected 1,000 computers at the Russian Ministry of the Interior and elicited an apology from U.S.-based FedEx, which said an unannounced number of systems downed by Wanna Cry might interrupt normal service.