A massive ransomware campaign has been identified on June 27, 2017, and is currently unfolding worldwide. The attack has been dubbed “NotPetya” by Kaspersky Lab and other experts in the field who state that, in comparison to earlier versions of the Petya malware, this new variant has major differences in its operations. Bitdefender Labs confirmed in an update earlier today that the ransomware uses the NSA’s EternalBlue exploit to propagate.
If you’re unfamiliar with ransomware, it’s a pretty simple concept. Cyber-criminals and hackers develop a tool or program which, upon gaining access to a targeted PC, will close off access and encrypt the files of the target. The administrator of the infected target will not be able to access anything unless they pay a ransom in Bitcoin, which is the USD equivalent of $300 in this case. If the ransom isn’t paid, the malware may destroy all of your files — or at least never allow you to regain access to them again.
If your computer has been affected by this most recent ransomware, your screen will look something like this:
While Ukraine’s government, National Bank, transportation services and largest power companies are bearing the brunt of the attack right now, and some experts have speculated that this might be a politically motivated attack against Ukrainian infrastructure, there are also notable reports of the virus springing up across Europe and even in parts of the US.
This is just seven weeks after one of the largest ransomware outbreaks in history, WannaCry, swept the globe and wreaked havoc on airports, hospitals, schools, businesses and personal laptops in nearly 100 countries.
As mentioned by CNET, “WannaCry was supposed to be a wake-up call for people to update their computers with the latest software. But it appears people just forgot about the attack and went on with their lives.”
As described by Microsoft, some of the ways your PC can be infected by ransomware include:
- Visiting unsafe, suspicious, or fake websites.
- Opening emails and email attachments that you weren’t expecting or from people you don’t know.
- Opening malicious or bad links in emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts, or in instant messenger chats, like Skype.
At SolidTrust Pay, one of our top priorities is security. While we are at very little risk of being affected by this recent outbreak as a business, we are certainly concerned for our users and merchants. We encourage anybody who is reading this to follow the steps laid out by Microsoft on protecting your PC against ransomware attacks.