Worse than ransomware? That’s just great.

Cyber attack

If you or your enterprise were victims of the reported massive ransomware attack that rocked the digital world Tuesday, you may have seen a message on your infected device informing you that your data will be unlocked after you pay a $300 hostage fee in bitcoin.

Researchers initially thought the “malware was a new version of the Petya ransomware that first struck in early 2016,” writes Ars Technica‘s Dan Goodin, but they later concluded “it was a new, never-before-seen ransomware package that mimicked some of Petya’s behaviors.”

Some researchers on Wednesday said the massive cyber assault one day prior had been mislabeled as ransomware, when the malware’s “true objective was to permanently wipe as many hard drives as possible on infected networks,” Goodin reports.

That’s right, no chance to show off those mad negotiating skills.

The malware began spreading Tuesday from Ukraine, rapidly infecting computers around the globe. As Reuters reports, Ukraine police and international cyber security experts theorize that the virus began silently infecting computers in that country “after users downloaded a popular tax accounting package or visited a local news site.”

Mobile devices next

So far the new “wiper” virus appears to be successfully attacking only older PCs running older Windows systems. So far. It doesn’t take a wild leap of imagination to realize that mobile devices soon will be under assault by this destructive malware. Android smartphones, in particular, are being targeted by purveyors of ransomware and other malware.

For IT pros, that means doing their best to remind employees to secure their mobile devices and the data on their devices through cloud-based backup. It means reminding them not to download files or click on links from unfamiliar email addresses or text accounts, and not to download mobile apps from funky third-party sites that could be havens for hidden malware.

And it means knowing that 90 percent of employees will ignore everything you say. Such is enterprise IT life in the age of consumerization.

RELATED LINKS

What we now know about “PetrWrap”

Cool security tools your mobile workers just might use

Cloud-based security services set to soar

 

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