The (Not)Petya prob­lem

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

Ever heard of the quote “Some men just want to watch the world burn”? It’s one that def­i­nitely res­onates with the peo­ple (or per­son) be­hind the cre­ation of the de­struc­tive NotPetya ran­somware – oth­er­wise re­ferred to as Gold­enEye, ExPetr or PetrWrap – which spread like wild­fire right af­ter IT pro­fes­sion­als world­wide were left reel­ing from the crip­pling ef­fects of Wan­naCry.

But the com­mon mis­con­cep­tion about NotPetya is that it isn’t ac­tu­ally a form of ran­somware – but a wiper. Hy­brid cloud IT data pro­tec­tion com­pany Acro­nis be­lieves that, un­like Wan­naCry, which had been in­ten­tion­ally de­signed to lock down the en­tire IT in­fra­struc­ture of a com­pany un­til a ran­som is paid, the ob­jec­tive of NotPetya is sim­ple: to wreak as much havoc as pos­si­ble by de­stroy­ing data.

Cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­perts ini­tially thought that NotPetya was re­lated to the Petya ran­somware that was re­leased back in March 2016, but later on dis­cov­ered that they were deal­ing with a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mon­ster al­to­gether, for rea­sons ex­plained in the pre­ced­ing para­graph. Hence its name – NotPetya.

How­ever, it should be men­tioned that NotPetya does use the same Eter­nalBlue ex­ploit as the Wan­naCry ran­somware to prop­a­gate it­self. There’s no need for you to imag­ine how dev­as­tat­ing NotPetya can be should it man­age to wrig­gle its way into the IT in­fra­struc­ture of multi-bil­lion dol­lar en­ter­prises and con­glom­er­ates around the globe, be­cause it has al­ready hap­pened.

The world’s big­gest ship­ping com­pany, Maersk, which han­dles one in seven con­tain­ers shipped glob­ally, was one of the vic­tims of NotPetya. The Copen­hagen-based ship­ping gi­ant told Reuters that sev­eral of their IT sys­tems across the globe suf­fered an out­age as a re­sult of NotPetya cy­ber­at­tack, caus­ing a chain re­ac­tion that im­pacted all busi­ness units at the com­pany, in­clud­ing container ship­ping, port and tug boat oper­a­tions, oil and gas pro­duc­tion, drilling ser­vices, and oil tankers.

WPP, the world’s big­gest ad­ver­tis­ing agency and par­ent com­pany of sev­eral ad­ver­tis­ing and PR firms in­clud­ing Ogilvy & Mather, Me­di­aCom and Bur­son­Marsteller, wasn’t spared from the NotPetya pan­demic ei­ther. The agency announced on its of­fi­cial Twitter ac­count that a num­ber of IT sys­tems across sev­eral of its com­pa­nies have been af­fected by the at­tack, and it took them slightly over a week to bring its ser­vices back to nor­mal.

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