‘PETYA’ ransomware attacks underway: be vigilant

11.07.2017 Members

The recent ‘Petya’ virus affected a number of organisations globally through emails sent with attachments. JLT Cyber Security Specialist, Reid Sawyer, strongly advises Australian organisations to stay vigilant and be aware of the systemic risks.

The ‘Petya’ ransomware virus is the second major cyber-attack in the last sixty days, following the global ‘Wannacry’ attack.

“The ‘Petya’ virus poses a global systemic risk, highlighting the increased velocity and scale of such attacks. ‘Petya’ demonstrates the fragility of the highly connected ecosystems in which businesses operate. It is important for corporations and governments to understand this fragility and the potential impact on business and operations,” says Reid Sawyer, JLT Senior Vice President - Cyber Security.

"A ransomware virus cannot be viewed only as a cyber risk but it must also be seen as a business risk. Serious financial consequences can arise from such attacks, especially related to business interruption impacts – from both a first and third party perspective. Organisations must understand the financial consequences of such acts and ensure they have the appropriate insurances in place," Sawyer continues.

Apart from instances of the virus being reportedly delivered in email attachments, it can also be delivered through other means such as in html links.

This new strain of ransomware appears to utilise the same exploit as the recent ‘Wannacry’ virus in order to infect networks and encrypt data, requiring the victim to pay a ransom in order to get their data back.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that cyber risk is quickly developing into a global systemic risk with the potential to cause severe damage across multiple industries and economies. It is critical for businesses and governments to identify their vulnerabilities and understand their systemic risks,” says Samuel Rogers, Cyber Risk Specialist, JLT.

“There are a number of immediate steps which organisations can take to help protect themselves, such as securing their firewalls, end user points, servers and email systems. They also need to make sure they have an incident response team and technical support partner in place,” adds Rogers.

Evidence shows that many organisations lack the necessary engagement with cyber security and appropriate staff training to mitigate the threat of cyber-attacks. Establishing effective policies and procedures and building an information secure culture will contribute to safe guarding and mitigating cyber risks within an organisation.

This incident highlights the importance of cyber insurance. Having a safety net for the financial consequences related to a ransomware incident is paramount to the protection of an organisation’s financial credibility.

“Organisations should ensure that they have specialised cyber insurance coverage for such events. They should also be aware that their Kidnap & Ransom Policies may respond to cyber extortion demands,” says Rogers.

JLT is a leader in cyber risk management. JLT’s Cyber, Content and New Technology Risks team is a global coalition of skilled specialists who bring a wealth of experience in cyber security and risk management solutions.