security

Another Ransomware Attack – Should You Be Worried?

ransomware

It’s happening again.  Another ransomware attack, but this time it seems to be localized to Europe.  More specifically Russia and the Ukraine.  Yes, some are being affected in the United States, but it is definitely affecting airports in Europe.  The attack known as Petya is bigger than WannaCry.  Similar to that attack, these guys are demanding $300 worth of Bitcoin in order to hand over your files.  So it definitely has the same markings of WannaCry.  But what is most troubling is that it’s affecting airports, electricity grids, banks, and even the military.

The Director of the Boryspyl Airport in Ukraine released a statement claiming that this is highly irregular.  He is also urging people to remain calm and that they can find out more information about their departures within the terminals.  How scary is that though?  I’m not talking about whether or not you’ll be able to catch your flight on time.  I’m talking about what else this could mean?  What else is happening within the airport, or within their systems?  I’m not going to use this as an opportunity to come up with scare tactics, but come on.  You can’t help but make that leap.

It’s also scary that it’s targeting the military and electricity grids.  Sure, attacking your bank account isn’t great, but these are matters of national security.  What kinds of information are they able to get from the military?  And if they are successful in getting information from the military, who might they be able to give that to? If the attackers are after money, what better way than to leverage this into a bigger payout?  Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to give anyone any ideas, but you can’t tell me you didn’t think about this too.  The military aspect is maybe the scariest for me.  Why?  Because the military, in theory, is there to protect you.  And how can they do that, if they themselves are under attack?

computer data

Is there anything that can be done to prevent this kind of thing?  During the WannaCry attack, Microsoft came out with a statement saying that if you had of updated your Windows in terms of security patches, this wouldn’t have been an issue.  But what does a big corporation do in these instances?  I think I mentioned this in my last article on ransomware attacks, but my office sometimes gets attacked by ransomware.  And what do we do?  We back everything up, every night at midnight.  But that just guarantees that our files are intact.  It doesn’t mean that someone can’t use that information for something more nefarious.

I’m sure there will be news in a couple of days as to what people can do to protect themselves.  But is that ever enough?  I saw an article a few weeks ago, which indicated that these Microsoft patches wouldn’t necessarily mean that you would have been protected against WannaCry.  Can you ever do enough?  I’m not naive, but I don’t like the fact that we live in a world that we have to protect ourselves against cyber-attacks.  But it’s even worse when core systems like the military or the electricity grid are being attacked for no particular reason.  Are these organizations going to pay the ransom?  Or do they have a better plan?  Only time will tell.