Do you believe in personal cyber security? I didn’t either– until I was hacked by ransomware.
I wasn’t the only one either. Thousands of computer systems were struck June 16, 2017, in part of an international cyber attack that hit multiple countries including the United States and Ukraine. The assault collectively took down thousands of computers globally. Computers weren’t the only tech machines to go down. The attack left dozens of companies running to respond to the crisis and a lot of people like me staring at their screens in disbelief.
In Kiev, Ukraine, A.T.M.s suddenly stopped working, and workers had to manually monitor radiation at the Chernobyl plant when computers went down. Companies from chocolate maker Cadbury in Australia to British marketing company WPPA to the United States drug company Merck to Maersk, a Danish shipping company were affected by the attack. I was hacked while trying to write a paper on my laptop, so the timing was not great for me.
While tech managers were dealing with the fallout, it was still unclear as to who had started the cyber attack in the first place. Apparently, the initial attack targeted Ukraine’s government and business computer systems, possibly in relation to the holiday marking the adoption of Ukraine’s Constitution in 1996, but quickly spreading world wide.
It was the latest in a series of sophisticated hacks that utilized hacking tools stolen from the N.S.A. and leaked in April online by a group that called themselves the Shadow Brokers. Like WannaCry’s May attacks, this hacking took over computers and demanded a ransom in exchange for regained access to computer systems. According to researchers at security company Symantec, this attack used the hacking tool called Eternal Blue and two other methods to spread.
The N.S.A. has not officially acknowledged that its tools were used in cyber attacks. However, many computer security specialists want the agency to take responsibility and defend computers against their own weapons.
Global chief information officer at IDT conglomerate Golan Ben-Oni says that the N.S.A. needs to “take a leadership role” when it comes to working with vendors of security and operating system platform vendors. Ben-Oni also said that more serious cyber attacks on a global scale were very likely to happen in the future.
While Microsoft did patch up the vulnerability in March in Windows software regarding Eternal Blue, many people failed to install the fix. A vice president for security at Radware, Carl Herbinger, said that release of the patch did not translate to installation and noted that the more bureaucratic a company is, the more likely it would be that they had not updated their software.
It could be that those who installed the patch could still be vulnerable to attacks, according to researchers at Finnish cyber security firm F-Secure, who cited the two other methods of spreading as the reason why. However, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the latest antivirus software from the company would protect against the attack.
Various companies and countries reported being affected, from Russian energy company Rosneft to Saint-Gobain, a French company that sells construction materials. The Ukrainian government acknowledged that several banks, metro systems, and ministries had been affected by the attack, and accused Russia of the attack even though Russia itself had also been hit by the ransomware. Even Home Credit Bank, A Russian lender, had to have its office closed, and steel manufacture and mining company Evraz was also affected.
The attack also affected Australian international companies as well as United States businesses and hospitals, which were forced to suspend operations. Australian cyber security minister Dan Tehan said that the attack was a “wake-up call” to Australian businesses to back up data and install security patches, while the NSA referred cyber attack-related questions to the Department of Homeland Security, saying that they were monitoring the reports and coordinating with “international and domestic cyber partners,” according to Scott McConnell, a spokesman for the N.S.A.
So far, specialists are comparing it to last year’s Petya virus. The name means Little Wolf in Russian. Reports suggest that this most recent ransom virus was a variant of Petya. The attackers may also be hard to track down, as the Petya ransomware was up for sale on the dark web. If the ransom is paid, then the authors theoretically would get a part of the payment.
Security Researcher Matthieu Suiche noted that the latest attack was an “improved and more lethal version” of its predecessor, WannaCry. Suiche helped contain WannaCry’s spread with a kill switch he made to stop the attacks. He said that WannaCry had attempted to hit 80,000 organizations but could not attack due to the kill switch, which Petya lacks. It also can encrypt and lock hard drives where the previous attacks only locked up files.
With the ability to take over hard drives and not just files, you need a good personal cyber security system on your side to protect against online attacks. I’ve been using technology from Rubica that can help protect my computer against hackers like the ones behind Petya demanding ransom from individuals and companies in exchange for their computers back.
Rubica is a digital privacy and security company that works to protect consumers and companies from cyber attack. All you have to do is download the app to your computer, tablet or phone and their cyber ops experts will work to make sure that you have protection from hackers and ransomware. After I was hacked, I was worried about my personal information being exposed. With Rubica, I feel a lot more secure.
With Rubica, you get real-time analysis from experts. With over a decade of experience protecting individuals in cyberspace, their security experts monitor your data as well as identify threats working from an ops center in the United States. Just sign up for the personal cyber security plan that you think you would want.
Ever since I was hacked by ransomware, I’ve been concerned about how I can prevent future attacks before they happen. Rubica’s personal cyber security app let me see what was going on in real time. Don’t just know you’re protected– actually see how you are protected by going into the app and viewing your status, events investigated, view data analyzed, check out an activity graph, and even ask the experts at Rubica questions.
Even though I was hacked, at the end of the day, I’m glad it happened because now I’m secure from other threats in the future. I’ve gotten peace of mind back ever since I downloaded the app and cannot stop recommending it to friends and family. This latest attack proved that these attacks can hit anyone, and I am proof!
Get personal cyber security with the help of talented experts at Rubica and restore safety to your world. The Internet is a scary place, but it doesn’t have to be. You can even get a free 30-minute cyber audit where your questions are answered before downloading. Check out the app from Rubica and see how your devices can be protected in real time so when the next cyber attack happens, you aren’t a victim.