Technology specialist Alan Woodward has explained what Petya is, the new devastating ransomware that hackers use in their latest global attack. Petya is a type of ransomware that appeared early last year. Hackers are not targeting individual files, instead they go for the section of the PC system Master File Table. This kind of targeting is much more efficient than attacking individual files.

How does Petya attack computers?

In the beginning of this year, a new type of Petya was invented, it is improved and called "Petrwrap". It can be discovered by ordinary antivirus applications, but if it enters your computer and starts to spread, it is unlikely to expect to restore your lost documents, warns Professor Alan Woodward.

Experts are advising users to update their security system.

Petya is spreading by emails that look like a job applications and comes via a Dropbox link to a zip document containing malware or malicious software. To open the document, users must approve access to their computer, soon after which they remain without their documents and a request for ransom appears.

Security experts advise companies and their professionals not to pay any ransom that cyber criminals might ask for. ESET's security expert Mark James told the IB Times: "My recommendation to security companies is not to pay the ransom because it would only fund the criminal activities".

The best defense is updating your settings

"The best defense from ransomware is updating your computer's security settings, which is very easy to do today," James added.

Sean Sullivan a security expert at F-Secure, said an attack response would depend on the type of ransomware that hackers use. Currently, in the "deep web" the most popular type of Cryptolocker / Cryptowall is sold for just $ 3,000 in the form of a popular new Bitcoin currency. Recent estimates have shown that this ransomware in the world has caused more than $ 300 million damage.

Cryptowall is used only to encrypt documents, so Sullivan advises victims of such attacks to pay ransom because it "usually results in the return of lost documents."

However, as Sullivan pointed out, he had no experience that ransom payment for ransomware attacks like this new and improved Petya "has ever led to positive results". The wave of world-class IT attacks that appeared on Tuesday uses the hole in Windows for which Microsoft has already released a patch, the company said.