A new ransomware, that some analysts believe is actually a cyber attack in disguise, hit thousands of computers in Europe with Ukraine bearing the brunt of the force. Major firms, government departments, airports and banks have been left crippled by the virus. Countries such as the UK and the Netherlands have also reported being struck by the virus.
Researchers have pointed that Petya does not operate as ransomware typically does – which is extorting money in exchange of releasing data. Instead, Petya has the specific purpose to permanently wipe the user’s data by overwriting the master boot record. This means purchasing a decryption key wouldn’t really serve its purpose because the hard drive becomes corrupt.
Researchers believe that the main objective of the virus is to make the media believe that a hacker group was responsible for last month’s WannaCry ransomware outbreak rather than a state – which is the prevailing among analysts.