Ransomware is a type of malicious software or malware designed to block access to a computer system and threaten the victim until a ransom is paid. Historically, most ransomware targets individuals, but more recently, human-operated ransomware, which targets companies, has become a larger and more difficult threat to prevent and reverse.
With human-operated ransomware, a group of attackers use their collective intelligence to gain access to an organisation’s enterprise network. Some attacks like this are so sophisticated that the attackers use internal financial documents to set the ransom price.
WannaCry is a ransomware virus that spread rapidly across several computer networks in 2017. After intercepting a Windows computer, it encrypted files on the PC’s hard drive, making them impossible for users to access – then demanded a ransom payment in Bitcoin to release them. WannaCry was well published and top news in 2017, particularly because it struck many important and high-profile systems, including Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) by exploiting a Windows vulnerability.
NotPetya is a high-profile case of ransomware attacks, one the most fascinating malware incidents of recent history and came shortly after the infamous WannaCry. Part of the reason why it is so highly recognised is due to the way it spread rapidly between devices and networks – as well as its widespread impact.
Petya was a fairly basic strain of ransomware that encrypted Windows machines, with hackers demanding payment once again in Bitcoin, for the return of data they had seized. It was unremarkable, beyond being the first strain to encrypt a victim’s master file documents, as opposed to just the files on the drive. Then to top it off Petya evolved, with a more powerful strain emerging the following year.
Date: May 29, 2023