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Cyber attack hits oil giant and banks in Russian Federation and Ukraine

28 June, 2017, 08:41 | Author: Nadine Todd

Weeks after the WannaCry ransomware affected systems in over 100 countries, another major cyber-attack is causing mass disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine and Russian Federation the hardest.

The ransomware called Petya is also being reported in other countries - and security experts warn that it could spread globally, raising fears of another global attack like the WannaCry outbreak that struck in May.

The virus is similar in its demands to the WannaCry ransomware, which swept the world last month, hitting more than 200,000 users in more than 150 countries.

IT experts have identified the virus as "Petrwrap" - a modified version of the Petya ransomware that hit in 2016.

A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive global cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday June 27, 2017, A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko said the government's computer network had gone down and the central bank said a operation at a number of banks and companies, including the state power distributor, had been disrupted by the attack.

BERLIN, June 27 German companies were also affected by a rapidly spreading ransomware attack, the federal cyber agency BSI said on Tuesday, urging firms to report any issues to authorities.

The cyber-attacks are said to be targeting Windows-based computers and exploiting a security flaw that was patched by Microsoft in March, but not yet updated by many firms.

Dutch-based transport company TNT Express, which was taken over previous year by FedEx, also said Tuesday that it is suffering computer disruptions.

Researchers have had some success finding ways around the ransomware's original encryption scheme, but more recent variants have changed up the way they lock up files. He says that if one computer gets infected, the new malware has a backup mechanism to spread to patched computers within the network as well.

Merck confirmed its computer network was "compromised" as part of the global attack.

BSI President Arne Schoenbohm said initial indications pointed to use of the Petya malware, which utilised the same weaknesses used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that caused global disruption in May. As the malware began to spread across the United States, it affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco.

"This attack also shows that criminal groups are always ready to copy and improve on one another's techniques once they see that something is effective", Cova said.

India-based employees at Beiersdorf AG BEIG.DE , the maker of Nivea skincare products, told Reuters the ransomware attack had impacted some of the company's systems in the country.

The agency did not name the companies affected, although German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post earlier said its systems in Ukraine had been affected.

Officials at Ukraine's postal service and metro system in Kiev also reported hacking problems.

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