Cyberattack Strikes Ukraine and Then Spreads Across the Globe

Digital hacking is now more prevalent than ever before. Of all the data breaches that occur today, roughly 50% of all breaches involve web applications. However, less than 10% of the country’s organizations ensure all critical applications are reviewed for security. As a result, cyberattacks are stirring up major problems not just in the U.S. business sector, but across the globe.

Case in point: The New York Times reports that a brand new malware attack is spreading across the the entire world. Experts are calling the malware attack “Petya,” and the virus has infected computer systems in major corporations and government agencies on several continents.

In Ukraine, the malware quickly caused chaos.

“The cyber police has received more than 200 reports about interferences in computers with damaging software. Under attack are the state and corporate sector: post offices, banks, transport infrastructure, the main office of the railway station, and other facilities,” said Artem Shevchenko with the Ukrainian ministry of internal affairs to Al Jazeera.

The international cyberattack has crippled tens of thousands of machines across the globe so far, and some cybersecurity experts believe the hackers took advantage of leaked tools from the National Security Agency (NSA). Computer systems in Ukraine were struck as the first target.

The NSA hasn’t yet acknowledged the tools that were used in the global hacking, but industry specialists are hoping the agency can release its information so the rest of the world can defend against similar hacks.

“The NSA needs to take a leadership role in working closely with security and operating system platform vendors such as Apple and Microsoft to address the plague that they’ve unleashed,” said Golan Ben-Oni, the global chief information officer at IDT.

IDT was recently struck by a separate malware attack in April that also used the NSA’s hacking tools.

In the United States, corporations and government agencies are growing more paranoid that an onslaught of future hacks is inevitable. However, many Americans are largely unaware of just how vulnerable their smartphones and computers might be. Ignorance is bliss, and Netflix is currently the largest user of bandwidth throughout the entire Internet, representing roughly 38% of all peak evening traffic.

But as the average American binge watches the latest season of Orange Is the New Black, government intelligence agencies and criminal hackers are planning their next operation. The Internet has made the world more interconnected than ever before, but that also makes it easier for malware and malicious software to spread globally. Today, fully 90% of the world’s data is transmitted through an intercontinental, undersea network of bulk fiber optic cables, which can just as easily transmit viruses and ransomware as anything else.

In Ukraine, the government is still dealing with the aftereffects of the recent hack, which cybersecurity experts say is a sign of things to come.

“Ukraine has never faced [such a cyberattack] before,” said Shevchenko.

The biggest scare from the most recent attack came when the hack made its way to Kiev, Ukraine, the home of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

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