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New Petya ransomware attack hits Europe and reaches Australia

An aggressive new ransomware called Petya has emerged which is potentially more damaging than the WannaCry cyber-attack that crippled computers around the world and brought businesses to a standstill.

This new ransomware has made its mark in Europe and has already been seen in Australia.

Is believed a global legal firm with offices in Australia have been affected with staff told computer systems will be down for the whole day.

A Danish oil and shipping company has also confirmed they had been affected

Once the Petya ransomware finds its way into a system it encrypts MFT (Master File Tree) tables and overwrites the MBR (Master Boot Record), dropping a ransom note and leaving victims unable to boot their computer.

It is particularly dangerous because it uses multiple methods to spread quickly within a company’s network after the first computer is infected.

Petya attacks Windows servers which are used to share files and printers across a large network.

Companies can protect themselves by having the latest patches installed and by backing up regularly and keeping a recent backup copy off-site.

This backup method can protect users not only from ransomware but other dangers including fire, flood, theft and a computer malfunction.

Users should also resist the temptation of opening email attachments from people you don’t know. This is a common way for malware to enter a corporate system

Ransomware statistics from the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report

 – The average ransom per victim grew to $1,077 in 2016, up from $294 in 2015 (266% increase).

– Ransomware attacks grew to 463,841 in 2016, up from 340,665 attacks in 2015 (36% increase).

– More than 70 percent of malware attacks on the healthcare industry were ransomware in 2016, including hospitals, pharmacies and insurance agencies.

– 1 in 131 emails contained a malicious link or attachment in 2016 – the highest rate in five years.

– There was a two-fold increase in attempted attacks against IoT devices over the course of 2016 and, at times of peak activity, the average device was attacked once every two minutes.

 

 

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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