Get used to the kind of ransomware attack that crippled critical infrastructure and shut down major corporations yesterday. It was an escalation of the kind of cyber attack that’s becoming a regular occurrence worldwide with a reach that’s threatening key elements of national security, reports Axios.com. These kinds of attacks are affecting more people as they spill out of the cyber realm and affect hospitals, power grids, and multi-national corporations. At the same time, consumer anxiety about security is at an all-time high, according to the Unisys Security Index and EY’s Global Capital Confidence Barometer, which shows cybersecurity concerns are delaying business deals.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, called yesterday’s cyberattack — which targeted government workstations, power companies, banks, state-run TV stations, airports and ATMs — “unprecedented” in scope. The so-called Petya attack reboots victims’ computers, encrypts their hard drive’s master file and renders their entire hard drive inoperable. The ransom requested for access to an infected computer is $300 in bitcoin, and “doesn’t seem consistent with state-sponsored attackers,” said Bret Padres, a former intel official and CEO of The Crypsis Group. The attack came just over a month after the massive WannaCry ransomware attack, conducted by a North Korean hacking group, spread to 300,000 breaches across 150 countries. Padres says “Eastern European systems are more likely to be running unpatched and could be more vulnerable to this type of attack,” but the “bulk of the U.S. capability in cyber security is in its offensive operations. We are in a very vulnerable place when it comes to defenses.”