The latest global ransomware attack, Petya, which was first reported infecting many large corporations across Europe on Tuesday night has made its presence felt in Australia.The Australian arm of the law firm DLA Piper, Cadbury and TNT Express are three high-profile Australian victims.

What is Petya?

This malware has spread through using a vulnerability in computers running Microsoft Windows, similar to the recent WannaCry ransomware attack which crippled a large number of computer systems globally in May.

The Petya ransomware attack works by taking over a person or company’s computer system and then encrypting the victim’s files, making them unusable to the victim. The attackers then demand a payment of $US300 worth of bitcoin to recover the data to the victim. Unless the victim makes payment, their files will be inaccessible.

Who Has it Affected?

So far it is believed that this attack has impacted more than 80 high-profile victims globally, with organisations in the Ukraine being hardest hit. The attack is widespread. Maersk, the global shipping and logistics conglomerate, has had their entire IT infrastructure compromised, just one example of the type of victim this attack has targeted.

It has also been reported that the attack disabled the radiation monitoring system at the former site of the Chernobyl Nuclear power. Australian organisations have also fallen victim to this latest attack on three high-profile companies stating their IT systems were compromised.

What Does This Mean?

While there are some high-level and well-known victims of this latest attack, all types of businesses must be placed on notice of the potential damage that these attacks can have on a organisation’s operations.

This attack reinforces the importance of all business to take appropriate steps to minimise their risk of falling victim to these attacks, through continually ensuring that the latest patches and software updates are performed. Also, businesses must implement strategies to minimise the impact of a ransomware attack, in the case that your business falls victim to such an attack.

Let us know your thoughts on the Petya ransomware attack by tagging us @lawpath or #lawpath.

Daniel Saouma

Daniel is a Legal Intern at LawPath working with the content team. With a interest in consumer and media law he has completed a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in Marketing and is currently completing his law degree at the University of Technology Sydney.