Hackers hit software supply chains more in 2017 than prior two years combined

A computer user points at a system infected with the NotPetya malware
A computer user points at the word "Bitcoin" in ransom message associated with the NotPetya malware. Photo: Donat Sorokin\TASS via Getty Images.

Hackers dramatically increased the number and scope of attacks on software manufacturers as a way to attack user machines in 2017, according to a new report by Symantec. "When you look at the numbers, it's no longer one off attacks," Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response, told Axios.

Why it matters: The NotPetya malware was devastating internationally, costing the shipping giant Maersk $300 million dollars alone. It spread so quickly because it was attached to an update for widely used Ukrainian accounting software. This type of attack, where malware is placed in software before it is downloaded from the manufacturer, is known as a supply chain attack and are particularly tough for users to defend against.