After WannaCry the big buzz about a global cyberattack, was Petya. Petya was a failure as a ransomware, to be more specific, it was worse. The virus that began spreading through European computers recently and informed users that they could unlock their machines by paying a $300 ransom in bitcoins. But it looks like the program’s creators had no intention of restoring the machines at all. In fact, a new analysis reveals they couldn’t; the virus was designed to wipe computers outright.
The massive cyberattack swept across systems worldwide this week, spanning Europe, the Middle East, and the United States and affecting a variety of companies, from banking institutions to airlines to hospitals. The breach comes just weeks after the WannaCry attack that hit at least 150 countries. Keep up with the latest news from the attack here as we uncover details about the outbreak.
That’s still speculation for now, but the virus did appear to primarily target Ukrainian infrastructure, including an electricity supplier, the central bank, the state telecom, and an airport. Analysis from Kaspersky Lab yesterday showed the virus remaining primarily in Ukraine.
Kaspersky Labs reports that as many as 60 percent of the systems infected by the Petya ransomware were located within Ukraine, far more than anywhere else. The hack’s reach touched some of the country’s most crucial infrastructure including its central bank, airport, metro transport, and even the Chernobyl power plant, which was forced to move radiation-sensing systems to manual.
It leads to an uncomfortable question: what if money wasn’t the point? What if the attackers just wanted to cause damage to Ukraine? It’s not the first time the country has come under cyberattack. (These attacks have typically been attributed to Russia.) But it would be the first time such an attack has come in the guise of ransomware, and has spilled over so heavily onto other countries and corporations.