Tuesday, 18 July 2017 19:23 Written by
Published in Cyber security

Petya as a Nation-state attack

Cyber attacks at the National state level are generally the most dangerous and costly. Those who dare to hold such an attack, unlike ordinary hackers are not in pursuit of financial gain. At my presentations, seminars and lectures on cybersecurity, I usually commence with the following slide, which as can be seen, place Nation-state cyber-enabled attacks at the top of the danger scale.

To date, attacks of this type have been quite rare. They have been attributed to Attacks on National ICS (Industrial Control Systems) such as Dragonfly infections. For example, Israel's malware, which allegedly disrupted Syrian nuclear research or the Stuxnet Worm in 2010. Such examples arguably contain the founding elements for the preparation of a higher-level attack.

I used this slide during my Australian Cyber Security seminars held two months ago at the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, University of Technology Sydney, Strathfield Municipal Council and at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security in Canberra. I have written about the Cyber Threat Spectrum in the first part of my blog entitled “Cyber Security Threats: Don’t be the next easy target”, in which I made certain predictions.

The “Petya” cyber attack of 27 June 2017, which targeted Ukraine, was the largest Nation-state cyber attack, to date. The “Petya” attacks began almost simultaneously around 11:30. The virus that blocked the work of computer systems throughout the country, spread very quickly.

Leading political news agencies, including the BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-40427907 and the New York Times https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/technology/ransomware-hackers.htm recognised that the “Petya” virus attack was politically motivated and was written specifically to cause harm to Ukraine. It should be noted that 28th June is Ukrainian Constitution Day.

“Petya” has been qualified as the first wave of interstate cyber war.

Petya virus infected about 13 thousand computers in Ukraine. This is evidenced by the data of ESET, the developer of anti-virus software. According to ESET information, Ukraine had 75.24% of the total number of infections, Germany – 9.06%, Poland – 5.81%, followed by Serbia (2.87%), Greece (1.39%) and Romania (1.02%). Russia accounted for 0.8%.