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The ransomware that has affected systems in more than 150 countries recently, Wanna Cry, made press headlines last week, but it doesn't seem to be more virulent or more expensive than other ransomware.

Even worse, the usual solutions won't work with these embedded systems.

You have no way to back up your refrigerator's software, and it's unclear whether that solution would even work if an attack targets the functionality of the device rather than its stored data. Unlike our phones and computers, which we replace every few years, cars are expected to last at least a decade.

Or pay far more if they want their embedded heart defibrillator to keep working. Researchers have already demonstrated a ransomware attack against smart thermostats, which may sound like a nuisance at first but can cause serious property damage if it's cold enough outside.

If the device under attack has no screen, you'll get the message on the smartphone app you control it from.

The NSA's code was, in turn, stolen by an unknown hacker group called Shadow Brokers ­ widely believed by the security community to be the Russians ­ in 2014 and released to the public in April.

Microsoft patched the vulnerability a month earlier, presumably after being alerted by the NSA that the leak was imminent.

The lessons for users are obvious: Keep your system patches up to date and regularly backup your data. Your microwave is a computer that makes things hot.

This isn't just good advice to defend against ransomware, but good advice in general. Your refrigerator is a computer that keeps things cold.

It's only a matter of time before people get messages on their car screens saying that the engine has been disabled and it will cost $200 in bitcoin to turn it back on.

Or a similar message on their phones about their Internet-enabled door lock: Pay $100 if you want to get into your house tonight.

Ransomware isn't new, but it's increasingly popular and profitable.