A massive cyberattack has hit more than 150 countries around the world. And its next target could be you.
The Guardian informed that the attack is a ransomware-based one which gets into one's computer either by clicking on the wrong link or downloading a malicious file. The program then encrypts important files on the system in a way that it cannot be accessed anymore and in order to get hold back of the file, the user is asked to pay a ransom.
The exact term for such attacks is WannaCry, and it is also known as WanaCrypt0r 2.0, WannaCry and WCry.
Reportedly, the cyber-attack started to spread from last Friday and exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability was identified by and stolen from, US intelligence and security experts warnthat there is no guarantee that access will be granted after payment. In fact, there is also a trend of ransomware upping the stakes after a few days and demanding more money.
Some forms of ransomware also involve entirely locking one's computer or having impossible-to-close pop-ups appear on the screen. The only way to access back the system after such attacks is to make the payment - in bitcoins, so that the attackers cannot be traced. 
While the frequency of the attacks slowed down over the weekend, experts believe that the respite might only be brief. Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith slammed government bodies for storing precious data on flawed computer systems.

He wrote,

We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world.
An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.

The man accused organisations of not updating their systems, allowing the virus to spread.

The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call.
Experts warned that WannaCry is not just a regular ransomware but is also a worm. It, reportedly, mutates over time to find different ways to access the system or to get around future patches from the OS company. 

So what can we do to prevent this?

A security patch to prevent the vulnerability was released by Microsoft in March itself.
So, all that a user needs to do is install the latest system update from the company. Users are advised to regularly back up their data and install the latest security patches as soon as they are released.
Security experts also warned users against opening malicious emails and download unverified files. It is important to not open attachments from people you do not know and do so only if your system has been updated with the latest patch.