Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Kenya: CA Advises Public, Organizations On Preventive Measures for Petya Ransomware Attack

Kayla Schwartz | 28 June, 2017, 21:15

According to Russian cybersecurity company Group-IB, Petya is similar to the WannaCry virus, responsible for last month's attack that paralysed computers and demanded a payment of $300 in bitcoins for a machine to be unblocked.

Ukraine's Central Bank reported disruption to operations at banks and firms, including the state power distributor. They can create malware faster, use anonymous digital currencies like Bitcoin to demand ransom and employ powerful hacking tools that are publicly available online. The malware also hit A.P. Moller-Maersk, a Danish shipping company, as well as British advertising agency WPP, plus USA pharmaceutical company Merck and Co., among others, according to the Reuters account.

Maersk's port operator APM Terminals was also hit.

But the new attack appeared much smaller in scale, with global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab estimating the number of victims at 2,000.

The "Petya" cyberattack that has now struck computers in at least 65 countries can be traced to a Ukrainian company's tax accounting software, Microsoft says.

"We have contained the issue and are working on a technical recovery plan with key IT partners and global cyber security agencies", Maersk, which handles one in every seven containers shipped world wide, said in a stock exchange announcement.

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The Department of Homeland Security is also monitoring the cyberattacks. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was also helping Ukraine, the country first hit by the latest cyberattack, with its online defenses, Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine reported heavy disruption from the virus, with banks, companies and government agencies being affected.

Security experts said they expected the impact to be smaller than WannaCry because many computers had been patched with Windows updates in the wake of the WannaCry ransom attack last month to protect them against attacks using the Eternal Blue code. The timing could also be a clue, coming the same day as the assassination of a senior Ukrainian military intelligence officer in the nation's capital and a day before a national holiday celebrating a new constitution signed after the breakup of the Soviet Union. WannaCry was the first time researchers saw a large-scale ransomware that could worm its way through networks.

Security researchers said Tuesday's virus could leap from computer to computer once unleashed within an organisation but, unlike WannaCry, it could not randomly trawl the internet for its next victims, limiting its scope to infect.

Ukraine's vice prime minister, Pavlo Rozenko, tweeted a screenshot of his malfunctioning computer saying computers at the Cabinet of Ministers have been affected. But Kaspersky described it as a new form of ransomware.

ESET, an anti-virus vendor based in Bratislava, said 80 percent of all infections from the new attack detected among its global customer base were in Ukraine, with Italy second hardest hit at around 10 percent.

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