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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ransomware - the New name of Cyberattack!

Computer systems from Ukraine to the United States were struck yesterday Tuesday and in the early hours of today Wednesday, the 28th of June 2017, in an international cyberattack known as Ransomware. 

In Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, ATMs were reported to have stopped working. Nuclear reactor service workers in Chernobyl were forced to manually monitor radiation when their computers failed. It was unclear who was behind this cyberattack, and the extent of its impact was still hard to gauge. It started as an attack on Ukrainian government and business computer systems. The attack spread from there, causing collateral damage around the world.

The outbreak was the latest and perhaps the most sophisticated in a series of attacks making use of dozens of hacking tools that were stolen from the National Security Agency and leaked online in April 2017.

How it works:
(a) It locks your Hard drive:
"Petya is particularly dangerous because it doesn't only encrypt files, it also encrypts the hard drive as well," said Bogdan Botezatu, a senior threat analyst with Bitdefender.
The fake 'repair' screen victims will see as the ransomware begins encrypting
(b) Leaves a Ransom note:
The malware forces an infected PC to reboot as soon as it finishes encrypting files, so you'll see the ransom demands as soon as possible. Researchers at Recorded Future said there's also a hidden Trojan on Petya that steals victims' usernames and passwords.
The ransom note victims see after encryption is completed

Common Denominator of all Malwares:
This is the second global ransomware attack in the last 2 months of 2017. It follows the WannaCry outbreak that ensnared more than 200,000 computers, locking up hospitals, banks and universities. Like WannaCry and GoldenEye, Petya attacks affect only computers running the Windows operating systems.

Microsoft has released patches for all Windows operating systems after the global outbreak, but people who've updated their computers could still be affected. That's because Petya can also spread through Office documents, taking advantage of yet another vulnerability.

How to Protect Yourself:
(i) If you're a home user, make sure your Windows computers have installed at least the April 2017 Windows Update security-patch bundle from Microsoft. If you're not sure, go to Control Panel (Windows 7) or Windows Settings (Windows 8, 8.1 or 10), open Windows Update or Updates and Security, and check for recent patches.

(ii) You should also run antivirus software. As of 5:30pm ET Tuesday (27/06/17), 39 different antivirus brands detected the ransomware, including Avira, Bitdefender, ESET, Kaspersky, McAfee, Panda, Symantec/Norton and Trend Micro.

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