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Was Petya Ransomware actually a Cyberattack?

A ransomware released into the world

Now that the craziness which the most recent Petya ransomware attack has created is slowly fading away, Ukraine seems to have been the most affected country. According to Kaspersky Labs, about 60% of all systems which Petya attacked were inside the country. This is far more than those outside it. The hack also affected some of Ukraine’s most important structures like its central bank, airport, the metro transport and even the old Chernobyl power plant. Workers there needed to switch to manual control because the system was dead after the attack.

The reason behind the ransomware

While the clear reason for this attack was to make money more easily, the way the attackers conducted the ransomware was at least bizarre. Moreover, it didn’t provide too much money. Most such attacks usually collect money from big companies which want their precious data back. After that, the ransomware attacks start decrypting the systems as the payments come in. Well, Petya was different. Firstly, it didn’t seem capable of decrypting the computers it infected. Secondly, it had a very complex and bizarre payout method. The victims needed to send the money to a single e-mail address which was immediately shut down after the attack became subject on the news. Yesterday morning, the Bitcoin wallet to which victims needed to send money had received just $10,000. This is a very small amount of money, by ransomware standards.

This is why many people are wondering if money was indeed the purpose of this attack. Maybe the hackers just wanted to hurt Ukraine? It would not be the first cyberattack to hit the country. And they blamed Russia for the majority of them. However, this would be the first attack wearing the cloak of a ransomware. Also, the first which affected other countries too.

Petya deliberately targeted Ukraine

There is no doubt that Petya deliberately attacked Ukraine. Its initial attack only targeted some specific networks, all of them in Ukraine. According to a researcher at Kaspersky, Petya also planted malware on the homepage of an important news outlet based in the country. Also, the attackers seemed to have control over how far Petya spread at all times. This is another reason to believe that maybe, the attackers didn’t do it for money, but for something else.

Image source: pixabay


About Donna Griggs

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