Just a month after the WannaCry ransomware infected devices around the globe, a new strain calling itself Petya has struck overnight. Petya looks and operates the same way as WannaCry, locking out users from their systems and demanding a ransom of US$300 in order to decrypt files stored on the device. To spread across devices, Petya utilises exactly the same vulnerability used in WannaCry, patched by Microsoft in March 2017.

Organisations in Europe have been the worst hit, with the ransomware slowly spreading to the United States, and to Australia this morning as organisations boot up their computers. The Prime Minister of Ukraine has called the attack on his country “unprecedented”, with the government’s computer network going down, and the state power distributor being disrupted.

A global law firm has also been hit by Petya, with its offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US all affected by the attack. This continues a worrying trend of law firms being breached as of late, potentially exposing thousands of clients to commercial and legal risk. Worrying because we’re lawyers and not so proud as to think it couldn’t be us!

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of keeping all devices and systems patched and up-to-date. Unfortunately, it seems that organisations around the globe, even those professing to be experts in cybersecurity, are still unprepared to deal with cyber-attacks and mitigate their risks.

The UK National Cyber Security Center has released guidance to help both home users and organisations limit the impact of ransomware attacks. It can be read here.