Current Affairs » Cyber Attack - Ransomware Spreads Across The World

Cyber Attack - Ransomware Spreads Across The World

Cyber Attack - Ransomware Spreads Across The World

A wave of major cyber-attacks hit organizations across the world causing widespread disruption. Ransomware-the name given to programmes that are designed to hold data hostage by scrambling it until a payment is made,has hit in many different versions and downed systems across the globe in the last three years and has now made a major comeback.

The first attack this year originated in the UK and Spain in the month of May, 2017. More than 200,000 victims in around 150 countries were infected by the WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor ransomware as it spread globally. The virus targeted computers running on the Microsoft Windows Operating System.

Petya is an encrypting ransomware that was first discovered in 2016 also has returned in June 2017 with a more advanced version that utilizes the same way WannaCry had infected the systems. The affected computers displayed a message demanding a ransom worth $300. Further confirmation of payment details was demanded from the users to be sent to an e-mail address which was later shut down by the e-mail provider itself. The malware infected major countries like France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United States. The grid hit hardest in Russia and Ukraine where more than 80 companies were attacked just in the initial stages.

On the 27th of June 2017 an even more advanced version of ransomware Petya, named Golden Eye has hit European countries and parts of India. The new malware has two layers of encrypting process and just like Petya, GoldenEye encrypts the entire hard disk drive. It is impossible for users to boot up the computer on a live operating system (OS) environment and retrieve stored information or samples. Adding to this, Golden Eye has been found to use a specialized routine that forcefully crashes the computer that will trigger a reboot and then make the computer unusable until the $300 ransom is paid. Officials have urged companies and individuals not to pay the amount as this would only fuel the vicious circle in which hackers get enough money and have enough amount easily accumulated to create even more complex and improved versions of the virus.

The world is coming forward with a stronger fight against cyber-attacks. The cyber protection surge in the market is estimated to be worth $120 billion in 2017. This is 30 times more than its size just a decade ago. The financial leaders of the G7 are to agree and pledge a stronger cooperation against cyber-attacks and crimes. Central bank governors and Finance ministers of the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Britain are meeting in Italy, where the discussion and finalization of this agreement will take place.