All this time we have been talking about the importance of encryption and how you can encrypt your files to keep them safe. We have a lot of apps that help us do this so that our banking details or personal communication is not being eavesdropped on by others. Quite inherent to their nature, all good tech inventions can be employed very quickly by the dark universe of internet where these inventions are twisted for the benefit of internet criminals. So it goes that encryptions soon began to be used by a form of malware which is called ransomware. Just like its name suggests, when a user’s PC is affected by ransomware, some of their files get encrypted and they have to pay a certain amount of ransom in the form of Bitcoin so that they can decrypt those files.
While this is bad news already, an even worse form of ransomware has been recently detected which encrypts your entire hard drive. This malware known as Petya has already targeted a few German businesses. Once Petya is installed, your computer will immediately reboot and instead of starting up normally, you will encounter a screen that appears to be a CHKDSK screen. This screen clearly advises you not to shut off your PC in the middle of the operation or else you may end up losing all your data. But this is a smokescreen and Petya is working in the background by using disk-level encryption to lock your system down.
Once the operation is completed you will notice the usual sales pitch of ransomware that will ask you to pay if you wish to access your files. At this time, the ransom requested by this malware is 0.9 Bitcoin which amounts to around $380. The payment is made by a Tor hidden service through which you will get the key to access your files.
The bright side is that Petya cannot install silently because it makes changes to the boot environment so if you get a pop-up which may look like a malware trying to get into your system, it may be Petya and it is advised that you must not click through.