The Horseman of the Digital Apocalypse Is A Virus Named Petya


The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

Christoph Scholz | Flickr

That virus that shut down networks around the world this week, the one that’s been dubbed Petya, isn’t propagating like crazy anymore. But as we’ve learned more about it, it has begun to look even more consequential — less of a disaster than a prophecy.

Point one: Petya turns out not to be “ransomware” at all. It asked users to pay money to free their data, but their data has already been deleted (The Verge).

Point two: The original vector of contamination for Petya was a massive infection in government-mandated tax preparation software in Ukraine — and the attack happened on the eve of a Ukrainian national holiday. That points a very strong finger in Russia’s direction as the likely originator (The New York Times). It would be only the latest move in a long-running cyberwar that Russia has waged on Ukraine (Wired).

Point three: Russia may have launched the attack, but the underlying technology was made in America, by the NSA. Security experts now see this wave of attacks as a sign that “the agency’s own weaponry could be used to destroy critical infrastructure in allied nations or in the United States” (The New York Times).

Point four: The above points have led game design guru Raph Koster to argue that the entire internet-based civilization we have built is in danger because the net itself has become a vulnerable “single point of failure” in our lives. By connecting everything to one network we’ve made that network itself an inviting target, and now we’re paying the price.

Point five: Go back up the data you care about. Right now.

More daily items:

Facebook Learns That the Censor’s Job Is Never Done

The Economist Who Hated Democracy

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