Petya probably won’t getya, but pay attention, things are getting serious.
The ransomware attack this week referred to as “Petya” (which is called NotPetya by security experts) is a worldwide event causing real damage. Like WannaCry from last month, NotPetya tore across the globe locking major companies out of their data. However, this time there was no realistic way to pay the ransom to unlock the data, indicating that this event was a deliberate attack meant to do damage instead of a petty criminal enterprise.
We won’t get into the geopolitical intrigue surrounding the motivations for the attack, the perpetrators are still unknown, but in short NotPetya appears to have been a concerted effort to attack Ukraine. However, unlike WannaCry, NotPetya wasn’t designed to spread outside of the networks it infected. Instead it was delivered using a Ukraine government-mandated tax software. Companies using this software aren’t limited to Ukraine, and include many corporations large and small that do business in the Ukraine.
Things are so bad that even the criminal group Janus Cybercrime Solutions, the original creators of Petya which NotPetya is based off of, has resurfaced offering to help the some 2,000 effected companies that have lost their vital company data. Even the criminals who helped develop these cyber weapons are now waking up to the fact that they have opened Pandora’s box and have equipped (even worse) bad actors with dangerous tools.
This should be a wake up call to companies that don’t have around the clock monitoring of their IT systems. No matter how well an IT system is set up, no matter how vigorously you vet software (this was spread using government-mandated tax software, after all), attacks like NetPetya will always require close monitoring and quick action to be defended against.
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Hopefully we and other experts are wrong, but it’s believed that NotPetya and WannaCry are just a testing of the waters. The potential uses for this kind of attack are very troubling. Much more havoc is surely on the way. Please do your part and protect and monitor your systems closely. Like Techy the Cyberbear says “only you can prevent cybercrime.”