The massive outbreak of malware Petya or NotPetya, as it is being called, took place a couple of days back and shut down computers around the world. It is considered as one of the biggest cyber attacks against Ukraine, which has spilled over to other European countries and Asian countries like India.
According to Microsoft, the Petya ransomware has attacked severely in Ukraine where it was first identified, affecting more than 12,500 machines. Beyond Ukraine, some of the other high profile victims are law firm DLA Piper, Russian oil Industry Company Rosnoft, Danish shipping and energy company Maersk, JNPT port in India and many more.
When the attack occurred, researchers and other enterprise owners believed that it was a similar attack that took place a couple of months ago called the WannaCry. But, after spending more time and analyzing the behavior, they observed some curious behaviors. For one, its code is so aggressive, that it is nearly impossible for victims to recover their data.
After more analysis, researchers found out that the payload delivered in the outbreak wasn’t ransomware at all. It was more like its primary aim was to wipe out the data on as many hard drives as possible in a permanent manner. This was in a similar manner of what took place in Saudi Arabia with Shamoon disk wiper.
There are many others who are speculating that the entire stunt was to lure the media’s interest. Researcher Matt Suiche of Comae Technologies published his blog post confirming his views that the entire malware attack was to gain media’s attention. “This version of Petya actually wipes the first sectors of the disk like we have seen with malwares such as Shamoon. We believe that the ransom was in fact a lure to control the media narrative, especially after the WannaCry incidents...” he said.
The damages by Petya ransomware has spread like wildfire. Whatever the case may be the cyber threats are on the rise. And from the way things are turning out, there is sure to be more serious threats and damages to follow, if one is not careful enough.