At least 500 companies were affected by the WannaCry Ransomware cyber attack in Mexico, with companies in the banking, telecommunications, and retail sectors hit the hardest.
Among the companies hit by the malicious software attack is Spanish telecom firm Telefonica, which has extensive operations in the North American country.
Analysts say the attack must have infected thousands of computers across the country. The infected software, known as “ransomware”, locks up the user’s data and flashes a message demanding payment in Bitcoins to release it.
Only about $50,000 has been paid so far globally, according to the BBC, citing Elliptic Labs, which tracks the illicit use of Bitcoin. Fortunately, most of the victims did not pay because they could not be certain that the lost data would be restored.
In Mexico, anti-software vendors, such as Trend Micro, are repeatedly urging users not to pay.
Technology experts with the federal police force have claimed that they did not detect any attack from the virus, according to Mexico News Daily.
Globally, more than 75,000 computers were infected. Dmitry Bestuzhev, director of Kaspersky Lab in Latin America, has told local newspapers that many Mexican companies hit by the virus are not admitting it due to the fear of losing customers.
Computers run on outdated operating systems, such as Windows XP and Windows 2003, were particularly at risk of contracting the virus. Microsoft has vowed to assist customers, but is arguing that computers with updated operating systems were not affected.
Home users are generally believed to be at low risk to this particular strain.