VIENNA, June 29. /TASS/. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is taking effort to identify the origin of the encrypting virus Petya, which has recently attacked computers in various countries worldwide, and shares Russia’s call for international cooperation to combat cyber crime, Neil Walsh, the chief of the Cyber and Emerging Crime division of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, told TASS on Wednesday.
"We still don't know where it originate and who did it," he noted.
"This could be one individual sitting in his house, it could be an organized crime group, it could be a nation state," he said, adding that in the case of the previous such attack, with the use of the WannaCry ransomware virus, some data had indicated that the attack originated from North Korea.
"We still are not clear about the sources of this attack or can not define the origin of it yet. We give it time, we encourage the governments, law enforcement, intelligent agencies to take their time and work through the evidence to try to identify the origin," Walsh stressed.
He once again pointed out that it is too early to speak about the virus origins, "but all we can already see is the impact that it has."
"We have a statement of the Kremlin today about the need of working closer together to combat the cyber-crime. I would echo that completely, because this proves the need for cooperation, proves need for relationship and for trust," he underscored.
According to Walsh, those who were behind this virus attack had obviously planned to attract attention to their virus. And now, in his words, when they have succeeded, it is necessary to pool efforts to combat it. He noted that Europol and Kaspersky Lab are already giving good recommendations on how to withstand cyber attacks on the website Nomoreransome.org.
He noted that the most "intriguing" thing about this situation is that "this ransomware is technical proficient however the method that the attackers have used trying to gather the ransom is rather poor." "The way that this group has set up their payment structure makes it impossible for them to determine which of their victims has paid. There is no means of communication now since the email address was taken offline. It's a strange way of doing business to have such a technical proficient malware and no real ability to collect on it," he said.
"Never pay the ransom. In this specific instance with the NotPetya [the virus name used by specialists - TASS] attack there is no way of communicating, there is no way to originate or understand which of the victims has paid. It would be a total waste of money to pay," the UN experts said, adding that it would only popularize such criminal business models.
He stressed that one should take care of his or her own cyber security.
On June 27, a ransomware virus that block access to computer files and extorts a ransom for unblocking them attacked dozens of energy, telecommunications and financial companies and organizations in Russian and Ukraine and later on spread worldwide. Group-IB, a company dealing with prevention of and investigation into cybercrimes, said the attack was staged with the use of a Petya encrypting virus that infects computers and demands a $300-bitcoin ransom. Kaspersky Lab however said it was a new ransomware virus and dubbed it as NotPetya.
The previous large-scale attack on computers of Russian companies and government institutions was staged on May 12, when unidentified hackers tried to attack Windows OS computers in 74 countries with a WannaCry ransomware virus that extorted a $600-bitcoin ransom to unblock them. According to the Russian cybersecurity and anti-virus provider Kaspersky Lab, a total of 45,000 cyber attacks were carried out across the world. Most of the attempts at infecting computers were registered in Russia.
Some reports said that they used a hacking tool developed by the US National Security Agency.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the latest global cyber attack that swept through numerous countries has reaffirmed the significance of Moscow’s proposal for the need to cooperate internationally in combating cyber crime.
"Such massive cyber attacks once again confirm that Russia’s thesis, which it put forward at various levels, that the existence of such a threat requires cooperation on an international level is correct. Not a single country can effectively counter cyber threats single-handedly, and the issue cannot be resolved by means of groundless accusations," he stressed.