The year 2017 witnessed two variants of Ransomware attacks on private and public entities operating across the world. First, it was the much talked WannaCry Ransomware which disrupted almost 300,000 computers working across 150 countries in May’17. And the second was NotPetya ransomware attack which struck mostly the businesses operating in Ukraine and Europe in June 2017.
Last year, the British intelligence GCHQ has disclosed that the first cyber attack was carried out by North Korea’s state-funded Lazarus Group.
CIA, a top division of US intelligence has announced recently that the ‘NotPetya’ ransomware attack was carried out by Russian Military which is being led by Vladimir Putin. The malware had the potential not only to lock the database with encryption algorithm but also had the capability to wipe out the encrypted data under classified situations.
According to a source from Washington Post, the NotPetya ransomware was created by the GRU military spy agency to destroy most businesses operating in Ukraine. And the attack event was smartly planned and launched on Ukraine’s Constitution Day, a public holiday. The malware is said to have infected not only the computers operating in Banks, and Energy firms, but also some vital government websites and one of the country’s largest airports.
As per the press release issued by CIA, the hackers used an attack called “Watering Hole” to infect a website which has a lot of traffic. In the case of NotPetya, it was a tax and accounting software programming website used by both public and private agencies. The said tactic was used to compromise industrial control system networks causing huge loss to business and creating a kind of political instability.
Therefore, the attack clearly reflects the mounting aggression of Russia in cyberspace- all a part of a strategic “Hybrid Warfare” that integrates traditional military means with cyber tools to achieve regional or international dominance among nations.
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