The Untold Story Of The Worst Cyberattack in History

How one single piece of code crashed the world.

UK porn block
The U.K. porn block goes into effect on July 15
(Getty Images)

In June 2017, the world was hit with NotPetya, the most vicious cyberweapon yet.

“To date, it was simply the fastest-propagating piece of malware we’ve ever seen,” said Craig Williams, director of outreach at Cisco’s Talos division, one of the first security companies to reverse engineer and analyze Not­Petya, to Wired. “By the second you saw it, your data center was already gone.”

It was propelled by two powerful hacker exploits working in tandem, explains Wired: EternalBlue, a penetration tool created by the U.S. National Security Agency but leaked during a disastrous breach in 2017. It takes advantage of vulnerabilities and allows hackers free rein to remotely run their own code on any unpatched machine. EternalBlue was combined with an older invention known as Mimikatz, which could pull passwords out of RAM and use them to hack into other machines accessible with the same credentials.

The release of NotPetya cost more than $10 billion in total damages. In the year since the attack, Wired has looked into the experience of one corporate giant, Maersk, who was brought to its knees by Russia’s worm.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.