Businesses and governments have been hit by another global ransomware attack that has crippled computer networks and prompted renewed warnings to businesses to upgrade their cyber security.
The Petya ransomware has affected Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational shipping and advertising firms.
Several Australian businesses including Cadbury in Hobart have also been affected.
The ransomware is spread through spam emails.
Once a bad link in an email is clicked the software installs itself on the computer, locks it up with an encryption and demands a $300 ransom in the virtual currency bitcoin for its release.
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said yesterday, if infected you should isolate the affected computer from your network to prevent the software spreading and use backup data to restore information.
“All businesses should immediately update their Windows operating system with the latest security patches and there are instructions on the ACSC website to do this,” he said.
“This ransomware attack is a wake-up call to all Australian businesses to regularly backup their data and install the latest security patches.
“I urge all businesses to visit the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) website or call 1300 292371 (1300 CYBER1) for more information and to contact the ACSC if you have been infected.”
This is the second global ransomware attack in as many months with the ‘WannaCry’ attack in May netting its creators more than $120,000 in bitcoin.
Nearly 6000 businesses reported being targeted by online scams in 2016, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Targeting Scams report; with losses totalling around $3.8 million, an increase of almost 31 per cent.
“As recent events with the WannaCry ransomware scam demonstrates, businesses can be just as vulnerable to scams as anyone else in the community,” ACCC Deputy Chair Michael Schaper says.
“Small businesses with fewer than 20 staff are in particular the most vulnerable to scammers and accounted for nearly 60 per cent of reported losses.”