‘Vaccine’ for Worldwide Ransomware Attack Created, But No ‘Killswitch’ Found

Researchers found a defense against Tuesday's global cyberattack, but it won't stop spreading.

June 28, 2017 9:15 am
Ransomware Vaccine Created
A computer hacked by a virus known as Petya. The Petya ransomware cyber attack hit computers of Russian and Ukrainian companies on June 27, 2017. Donat Sorokin/TASS (Donat SorokinTASS via Getty Images)

Experts found a “perfc” solution to the latest ransomware, but it’s actually far from perfect.

Cybersecurity researchers say a read-only file named “perfc” acts as a vaccine against the cyberattack that swept the globe Tuesday, but it’s not a “killswitch” like the one that stopped a similar attack last month. Computers remain “contagious,” which means the virus can still be spread to other PCs.

According to BBC, computers can be protected by saving the read-only file in the “C:\Windows” folder. Experts from the cybersecurity website Bleeping Computer provide an explanation of how to do this on their site.

The ransomware, a variant of the “Petya” virus that some in the industry have dubbed “Not Petya,” is similar to last month’s pervasive Wanna Cry attack in that both struck multinational companies and critical infrastructure providers. Unlike the cyberattack in May that infected hundreds of thousands of computers, however, Tuesday’s ransomware attack struck 2,000.

The number of targets may indicate the cyber criminals’ sophistication, Wired reports. Unlike Wanna Cry, “Not Petya” infected enough victims to yield a sizable ransom but enough to keep track of who paid and who did not. This virus provided a unique link for each victim to pay their ransom, which also helps the hackers stay organized.

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