Computer (illustration)
Computer (illustration) thinkstock

In recent weeks there have been reports worldwide regarding cyber-attacks by a “ransom" software program. On Thursday it was revealed that dozens of Israeli governmental agencies, including four hospitals were hacked. The government has stated that no piece of information has been lost and that employees have been instructed on how to deal with the cyber-attacks.

The "ransom” occurs when malware finds its way into a victim’s computer, usually through a file attached via e-mail. Once the recipient opens the file, they unknowingly activate the “ransom” which runs quietly in the background while encrypting files from the computer. At the conclusion of the operation, the user is prevented access to the computer files and in order to remove the encryption, is required to pay ransom money, sometimes reaching millions of dollars.

According to reports published Thursday, 11.5% of all the attacks which took place last month occurred against Israeli computers, and 17% occurred in the United States.

It was further revealed that dozens of governmental and state-owned company computers were attacked by the “ransom." The hackers targeted the Laniado Hospital, Yehuda Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Sha'ar Menashe Psychiatric Medical Center and Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. It seems that no crucial data has been lost.

Unlike other cyber-attacks, there is no software protection or firewall against the “ransom” and the only preventative step available is to disconnect the computer from the network and to restore the locked data.