Remember WannaCry? The Cyberattack that had everyone losing their minds back in may, and burning their computers, praying their affairs weren’t made public? Okay, maybe that is not a literal description of the situation but all in all, it was pretty terrifying. Guess what? Another ransomware attack is bringing on a second apocalypse as we speak.
Petya has been spreading to computers throughout the world since Tuesday afternoon, taking hundreds of networks down in its wake. This massive ransomware attack has reached incomparable dimensions, affecting Europe, Asia, and the Americas — 74 countries have been victims so far, including Argentina.
Attacks with this type of malicious software, ransomware, consists of hijacking the computer’s entire data and asking for financial compensation before returning the encrypted information. In this case, the attack asked companies for USD $300 worth of bitcoins in exchange for being able to recover their files.
A publicity firm in the city of Buenos Aires claims to have been a victim of the attack. All of the company’s computers displayed the same warning: “If you can see this text, then your files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted. Perhaps you are looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.”
— Enrique Serrano (@EnriqueITE) June 27, 2017
The attacks have already hacked banks, hospitals, and government administrations. Experts claim this attack is inflicting even more harm than WannaCry in May. As opposed to attacking individual files, Petya targets the computer’s hard drive, preventing the device from functioning altogether.
The malware enters a computer through a downloaded file then will spread rapidly throughout an organization by using the EternalBlue vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.
If you want to be immune to the attack, your entire company should keep Microsoft Windows up to date. Microsoft’s latest version is not vulnerable to the old kinks that allowed Petya to seep its way in. Turns out that annoying “Do you want to update your system” pop-up wasn’t so useless after all.