Cybercrime is a very real threat. Most of us, if not all of us, have been a victim of some form of cybercrime, large or small, or at least know someone who has been affected. And as our world becomes increasingly connected and reliant on technology, this problem only has potential to get worse. A recent example of this was the WannaCry ransomware attack that occurred in May of this year. Essentially, the attack targeted Windows-based computers all around the world and crippled several networks for hours. It was one of the largest cyberattacks in recorded history.
Just recently, there was a similar attack on several PCs largely in Ukraine and Russia called NotPetya. By this point you are probably wondering why I am even speaking about this when I typically discuss finance and accounting, and you are right to think that. However, this attack hits closer to home than you’d think. According to a recent report from WIRED, Ukrainian law officials have seized the servers of a local software firm called MeDoc. The firm is apparently responsible for the attack due to its glaring anti-virus issues. According to the report, the firm was told multiple times about its security problems, and because the MeDoc failed to improve their cybersecurity, they are being held liable for the widespread attack.
The reason this attack hits so close to home is because MeDoc is an accounting software manufacturer. More specifically, the software responsible for the attack was for tax accounting. It is unfortunate that this attack happened at all, however, it is even worse that it is associated with accounting.
The NotPetya attack disguises itself as a ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks (like May’s WannaCry virus) essentially hold a computer’s files hostage until the computer’s owner agrees to pay a certain amount of money. The NotPetya attack did not actually require money. Instead, it was solely a chaos-inducing virus that deleted and damaged files on Windows-based computers. The virus was able to spread so quickly throughout the country because of a software update to the accounting software pushed out by MeDoc.
Tales such as these may seem terrifying, and rightfully so; however, these stories also serve as reminders to always stay safe and use anti-virus protection for your computer. Always use trusted software and never assume that software from a legitimate company can not cause damage.