A huge cyber attack named ‘Petya’ that originally hit Ukraine has spread across the world, causing significant disruption. The attack paralyzes firms, airports, banks and government departments in Ukraine.
The hack is the biggest in Ukraine’s history, but it has now reached many other countries – comprising the UK, Spain, and India – and may be performing like the massive “Wanna cry” attack that maimed the NHS, according to cyber security experts.
Russia’s top oil generator Rosneft said a large-scale cyber attack hit its servers on Tuesday and computer systems of the main Airport were also interrupted. In India, the largest port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai shut down its operations at one of its three terminals following the attack. News agency PTI reported that in the UK, advertising firm WPP systems had also been hit, while in the Netherlands a major shipping company confirmed its computer terminals were malfunctioning.
Initial reports had hinted that this was a coordinated hack being launch at Ukraine and Russia at the same time. It’s not clear how it started, or how it made its way to other countries. The virus is supposed to be ransomware – a piece of malicious software that shuts down a computer system and then demands an exorbitant sum of money to fix the problem. Victims of the malware are asked to pay a 300-dollar ransom after their hard drive is encrypted, crashing their computer.
Petya ransomware attack causes more havoc on machines than WannaCry as it targets the hard drive rather than individual files. This attack doesn’t just encrypt data for ransom – but rather hijacks computers and prevents them from working entirely. Security experts stated that they did not think that the ransomware released on Tuesday had a kill switch, indicating that it might be difficult to stop.
Following last month’s WannaCry trouble, some of the blame was pointed at US intelligence agencies who were blamed of “stockpiling” software code which could be misused by hackers. Such attacks pose a serious threat to the economy and businesses. Cyber-security experts believe that cyber crimes are growing at the faster rates that may reach six trillion dollars by 2021.