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A nasty form of ransomware dubbed NotPetya is currently spreading around the world. The first reports emerged from Russia and the Ukraine, but NotPetya has now reached the U.S, the UK, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Germany, and France. In other words, it’s pretty much everywhere.

Ransomware is a growing threat. Just a couple of months ago a strain called WannaCry The Global Ransomware Attack and How to Protect Your Data The Global Ransomware Attack and How to Protect Your Data A massive cyberattack has struck computers around the globe. Have you been affected by the highly virulent self-replicating ransomware? If not, how can you protect your data without paying the ransom? Read More crippled the British National Health Service for several days. And now NotPetya is infecting computers with relative impunity. So here’s everything you need to know about the NotPetya ransomware.

All of Your Questions, Answered

What Is Ransomware?

For the uninitiated amongst you, ransomware is a type of malware that infects your computer. Once it takes hold, it encrypts all of the files on your hard drive until you pay a ransom to release them. If you decide not to pay the ransom Don't Pay Up - How To Beat Ransomware! Don't Pay Up - How To Beat Ransomware! Just imagine if someone showed up on your doorstep and said, "Hey, there's mice in your house that you didn't know about. Give us $100 and we'll get rid of them." This is the Ransomware... Read More then you can lose permanent access to your files.

What Is Petya?

Petya is a ransomware variant first discovered in 2016. It represented an evolutionary step in terms of ransomware, being more sophisticated than everything that had come before. However, its reach was rather limited, especially when someone figured out how to stop Petya in its tracks.

What Is NotPetya?

The strain of ransomware currently spreading around the world isn’t Petya. While it resembles Petya, it’s a new strain of ransomware that hasn’t been seen before. Which is why Kaspersky has dubbed it NotPetya. Other names include Petrwrap, Petna, Pneytna, ExPetr, and GoldenEye.

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While NotPetya shares some DNA with Petya, this is something else entirely. Having said that, it works in much the same way as any other form of ransomware, encrypting all of your files and asking for a ransom to release them. The ransom in this case being $300 worth of Bitcoin.

How Can I Protect Myself?

Ransomware is a nasty form of malware capable of targeting anyone and everyone regardless of their personal circumstances. All you can do to guard against it is follow some basic advice:

  1. Back up all of your files regularly.
  2. Keep your computer up to date at all times.
  3. Use some form of up-to-date antivirus software.
  4. Always exercise caution when opening emails and attachments.
  5. Be Aware of the various threats that exist online.

If, despite taking these precautions Protect Your Data From Ransomware With These 5 Steps Protect Your Data From Ransomware With These 5 Steps Ransomware is scary, and if it happens to you, it can make you feel helpless and defeated. That's why you need to take these preemptive steps so you don't get caught off guard. Read More , you still get hit with ransomware, do not under any circumstances pay the ransom. Instead, disconnect your computer from the internet, format your hard drive, reinstall Windows, and reinstall your files from that aforementioned backup.

The Growing Threat From Ransomware

Ransomware isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that ransomware-as-a-service Ransomware-as-a-Service Will Bring Chaos to Everyone Ransomware-as-a-Service Will Bring Chaos to Everyone Ransomware is moving from its roots as the tool of criminals and malefactors into a worrying service industry, in which anyone can subscribe to a ransomware service and target users like you and me. Read More is going to make these kinds of attacks all too common. With that in mind, all you can do is take the basic, common sense steps to help protect yourself. And then cross your fingers.

Do you understand how ransomware works? Have you ever been hit by ransomware? Did you pay to decrypt your files? Or did you just wipe your computer hard drive and install backups? Are you worried about the rise of ransomware? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Jeremy Segrott via Flickr

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  1. Infernal Wind
    June 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Agreed on using Linux. Do the same myself on a home computer. Granted I am not by any fathom of the terms doing anything highly production critical. I do though at times dabble with some various programming as a hobby, learning. Linux helps keep that secure without need of much overhead.

    I have on hand a USB drive with a live image of Debian "Jessie". Think later today I might create a live image CD of Puppy Linux's latest stable release of Slacko & one of Damn Small Linux's latest stable release. Been running into some minor "gotchas" at times over the last decade of using Debian/Ubuntu. Nothing I can exactly point a direct finger at, mind you, merely those little quibbling personal nibbles here and there.

    Well, excuse me ... need to attend daily living.

  2. Stone Forest
    June 29, 2017 at 11:36 am

    6: Avoid using Microsoft for internet connected operations, especially when it comes to servers and data transfer.

    The number of corporations, companies, services and agencies who have effectively wide open systems shows how irresponsible they are towards internet security. Why do banks and stock markets use their own secure systems, or at least bespoke UNIX type systems?

    Where I work, which is a blue chip multinational, everything runs Windows, and is permanently connected. As a result, many operations have been down for 2 days.

    There is no need for running machinery, local databases and data collection systems to be on anything other than a closed and airgapped internal network, apart from when an internet connection is actually required. Have people never heard of USB sticks?

    Personally, I use Linux.