Damage to systems may be permanent
Global shipping giant FedEx has been scrambling to restore its online databases after a June Petya ransomware attack wreaked havoc on the company's computer systems and crippled shipments from their European TNT Express subsidiary.
This was the latest in a recent global outbreak of ransomware attacks that experts predict will cost US$6 trillion globally by 2021, according to the Cybersecurity Business Report.
Kevin Sterling, a senior analyst for Seaport Global Holdings, warned of a catastrophic loss of service to corporations such as FedEx.
"The biggest risk to FedEx is potential loss of market share,” he told Bloomberg News. “Customers like to track things and they may not be able to."
That’s how hackers make money. Businesses can’t afford to be offline or lose data. If a business doesn’t pay the ransom, it means loss of revenue and possible bankruptcy—and there have been more than 4,000 ransomware attacks every day since early 2016.
Fedex said its data was infected through a malicious tax-software product allegedly traced to Ukraine and which encrypted massive amounts of business information as well as vital shipping data.
The Financial Times reports that FedEx has said it can’t estimate “how long it will take to restore the systems that were impacted, and it is reasonably possible that TNT will be unable to fully restore all of the affected systems and recover all of the critical business data that was encrypted by the virus."
Unlike the ransomware used in the WannaCry outbreak in May, security experts report that the designers of Petya appear to have no intention of returning any data, regardless of ransom demands, which suggests a form of online terrorism designed to damage global digital infrastructure.
The most that companies such as FedEx can do is to minimize the damage and try to improve digital security.
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