The digital age has afforded us many luxuries in the 21st century. We’ve bypassed rude cab drivers, enabled food deliveries without moving from the couch, and even worked how to meet the opposite sex without talking to anyone. Teleporting is about the only sci-fi fantasy we are still waiting on. Unfortunately, this dependence on technology leaves us vulnerable to an age of cyber criminals taking advantage of our habitual use of automatization. Just this year a slew of companies and individuals across Europe and the United States were racked by a ransomware called “Petya.” If you are unfamiliar with ransomware, check out our previous article for more information.
“Petya,” which has garnered a bunch of different names, appears to have started in Ukraine. At first, the virus only affected accounting programs but quickly spread to government sites, banks, and power plants. The hackers were even able to shut down the monitoring systems at Chernobyl, the infamous site of a nuclear meltdown. This forced employees into the field with hand-held radiation devices to survey the area. The “Petya” allowed hackers to access to a staggering amount of digital systems all over the world. Hackers demanded payment into a bitcoin account in exchange for the information they stole. However, this wasn’t the first global ransomware attack, so why was it such a big deal?
Why Petya Was Different
The strangest and potentially most alarming aspect of the Petya virus was its lack of sophistication. You read that right – lack of sophistication! The hackers used a bitcoin account, which was linked to an email that was traced and eventually disabled. It may sound like a good thing: the hackers’ ability to receive their ransom was incapacitated. However, there are far reaching implications to consider. If hackers were able to design such a deleterious virus, why use such a simple means of collecting the rewards that could be easily disabled?
Some cyber experts theorize that the attack was disguised as ransomware but in reality, it was designed solely to damaged, disrupt, and affect vital computer systems without a financial goal. The question is then, what is worse, hackers creating viruses for financial gain, or merely to create chaos? As Alfred said in the Dark Knight, “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
How To Protect Yourself
Because of the manner in which “Petya” was deployed, it is highly unlikely that your systems would be affected with this particular strain today. That being said, ransomware and cyber attacks in general have become a cottage industry, one from which you must protect yourself and your company. Skysoft is a technology company founded in 2001 that specializes in all matters related to business technology. Our first piece of advice is to backup all your valuable information and store it on hard drives, which are not connected to the internet. Then if ransomware or other malware hits, your back-up keeps you safe. Another important tip is download the patches and updates send by your operating system. These may be the most annoying notifications on earth, but many of the patches include cyber security, which could thwart viruses.
At Skysoft we provide technology solutions for businesses so they can concentrate on profitability. Whether you’re looking for cyber security, hardware installation and support, VPNs, or remote access, we have you covered. There is no tech problem we can’t solve, or area we aren’t experts in. Regardless of your tech need, come check out Skysoft and take a leap forward.