Ransomware strikes again!
Another wave of powerful cyberattacks hit Europe and beyond last Tuesday in a possible reprise of the widespread ransom assault in May. A Russian oil giant, a Danish shipping and energy conglomerate, and Ukrainian government ministries were part of those affected. Even the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was affected causing scientists to monitor radiation levels manually.
Cyberattacks also spread as far as India and the United states. Merck, a pharmaceutical giant, reported on Twitter that “our company’s computer network was compromised today as part of global hack.” The New Jersey-based company said it was investigating the attack.
Cyber researchers say that the virus, which was linked to malware called Petya, used an “exploit” developed by the National Security Agency that was later leaked onto the Internet by hackers. This is the second attack in the past two months to turn powerful U.S. exploits against the IT infrastructure that supports national governments and corporations.
The onslaught of attacks could be the “new normal,” said Mark Graff, the chief executive of Tellagraff, a cybersecurity company.
“The Emergence of Petya and WannaCry really points of the need for a response plan and a policy on what companies are going to do about ransomware. You wont want to make that kind of decision at a time of panic, in a cloud of emotion,” he said.
The attack mainly targeted Eastern Europe but also hit some companies in Denmark, Norway, Britain, and Spain.
But the worst damage was in Ukraine. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team, in Russia, esitmated that about 60 percent of infected computers were in Ukraine.
The hacks targeted banks, government industries, utilities and other important infrastructures, demanding ransoms in the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
This is only the beginning. There will be more attacks. We just have to try to get ahead of them and do what we can to prevent them. Cybersecurity in this day in age should be one of our top priorities.