Cyber Warfare attacks are upping in frequency and severity every week, and one of the latest ones to hit computers throughout the globe was Petya. What is Petya and what you learn from this attack? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Petya?
Petya is a type of cyber warfare that, like other forms of ransomware, locks files on your computer and requires payment (typically via Bitcoin) to unlock them. However, Petya takes its attack a step beyond ransomware, because even though it is promised that upon paying the ransom the files will be retrieved, Petya never actually restores your data. The damage is essentially irreversible. While some claim to have tools that can recover files in certain situations, it is never a guarantee. Petya has been a particularly dangerous form of malware since most generic anti-virus software programs were not able to pick it out and stop it from striking.
How Does Petya Work?
Petya is able to lock the master boot record for your computer, so that you cannot locate any files. This makes your computer essentially unusable. Petya is able to attack entire networks of computers throughout the globe through a security flaw in the Microsoft Windows operating system that was leaked earlier this year in a dump of files from the National Security Agency. This is the same exact security flaw that ravaged computers earlier this year with the WannaCry virus. The Petya ransom requests $300 worth of Bitcoin to unlock the files again, but does not follow through with its promise to restore your data
Where Did Petya Come From?
Most security experts think that Petya originated from MeDoc, an accounting software used throughout the Ukraine at financial institutions. MeDoc created a software update, which was damaged by hackers, so that when it was installed entire networks of computers would be infected with Petya.
How Big is the Damage?
It is estimated that 12,000 computers where hit by this malware, and that it spread throughout the United States to Europe, South America, and many Asian countries. Many businesses and countries affected were fortunate enough to contain the damage and resume operations fairly quickly.
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