World reels from second groundbreaking hack of the year
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World reels from second groundbreaking hack of the year

Dominion has emphasized the importance of cyber security for some time, but it is still a message that many investors have seemingly ignored. If there was ever any doubt as to the importance of cyber security products, 2017 has put them firmly to bed. And we’re only in June! The latest demonstration of just how important cyber security will be to the world of the future played out over the week, as governments across Europe, Latin America, and Asia were hit by the “Petya” attack – similar in scope and type to Wannacry, which precedes it by a few months.

Petya has had a global impact and is a form of ransomware. Ransomware is a virus that locks you out of your computer unless money is sent digitally to the account of the hacker who compromised your system – hence the ‘ransom’ in the title. If that money is paid, a decryption key is mailed out to the paying victim, allowing them to access their machine.

For this reason, hackers that use ransomware are incentivized to make payment and decryption easy. If you can wire $100 dollars to someone and instantly access your computer again, it is a viable – albeit, illegal – business model. The Petya attack – like WannaCry before it – does not follow this protocol.

According to David Palmer, a UK cyber security expert that directs Darktrace, WannaCry spread through systems in a manner that is more destructive than traditional ransomware, and seems to have little consideration as to how perpetrators would actually get paid:

“In the past, criminals behind these attacks were trying to make it as easy as possible for victims to pay the ransom. That isn’t the case here. The ransom approach is completely backward to the way ransomware has evolved in the last several years.”

Whether these attacks are a deliberate attempt to cause disruption rather than accrue profit, or whether they are simply poorly thought out, it makes one thing very clear: cyber security is no longer optional, it is necessary.

Disclosure

Dominion holds a number of companies involved in cyber security in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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The views expressed in this article are those of the author at the date of publication and not necessarily those of Dominion Fund Management Limited. The content of this article is not intended as investment advice and will not be updated after publication. Images, video, quotations from literature and any such material which may be subject to copyright is reproduced in whole or in part in this article on the basis of Fair use as applied to news reporting and journalistic comment on events.