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Europe, Ukraine targeted in massive hack attack

28 June, 2017, 11:42 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Ransomware attack targets 2000 gov't, private servers worldwide

As if last month's major malware attack wasn't enough, today we're hearing about large-scale ransomware attack that that is crippling IT systems around the world. It noted that the nation's online payments system was however still operational.

"It's like somebody sneezing into a train full of people", Botezatu said. Sea Containers, the London building that houses WPP and agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, had been shut down, another person said.

Ukraine's prime minister says that a cyberattack affecting his country is "unprecedented", but "vital systems haven't been affected". The goal was "the destabilization of the economic situation and in the civic consciousness of Ukraine", though it was "disguised as an extortion attempt", he said.

Companies in the UK, USA and across Europe are reported to have been infected with the widely-reported ransomware. It stressed that it was not attributing blame to the company. Posteo, the email provider used by the hacker, said it has chose to block the attacker's account, which leaves victims with no apparent way to unlock their files.

The first attacks were reported from Russian Federation and Ukraine.

One of the major differences between the two attacks is that the most recent event does not yet appear to be susceptible to a hardcoded "kill switch".

Ukrenergo, the country's state power distributor, also says its IT system was hit, but told Reuters that no power supplies were affected.

Microsoft said it is investigating the matter. But no proof of Russian involvement in the hack was immediately made public.

It has struck heavily in Ukraine, where the interior ministry is calling it the largest cyberattack in the nation's history.

Cyberattacks blamed on pro-Russia hackers have twice taken down sizeable portions of Ukraine's power grid. It is similar to WannaCry, which spread globally in May, but there are differences. Microsoft released a patch for the bug in March, and following the WannaCry outbreak, provided a public patch for unsupported Windows XP.

Its pace appeared to slow as the day wore on, in part because the malware appeared to require direct contact between computer networks, a factor that may have limited its spread in regions with fewer connections to Ukraine.

Some of our gov agencies, private firms were hit by a virus.

"Cyber attacks can simply destroy us", said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of cyber security firm Secure Ideas.

Heritage Valley is a $480 million network that provides care for residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties, in Pennsylvania; parts of eastern OH; and the panhandle of West Virginia.

The method of infection used by the latest outbreak is not yet clear, though some infections appear to have happened through a malicious update for the Ukrainian tax accounting package called MeDoc.

DLA Piper, one of the world's largest law firms, confirmed it was also affected. APM Terminals at the Port of NY and New Jersey would be closed for the rest of the day "due to the extent of the system impact", the Port said.

Computers at Merck facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey locked up Tuesday morning around 8am local time, according to the Inquirer.

Officials said the attack impacted government, bank, energy and infrastructure providers in Ukraine, Russia, Britain and elsewhere.

"There is no workaround to help victims retrieve the decryption keys from the computer", the company said. "We are taking appropriate measures & will update asap". He declined further comment.

"Once activated, the virus can automatically and freely distribute itself on your network", Ukraine's cyberpolice tweeted.

Ukraine and Russian Federation appeared hardest hit. "The attack will be repelled and the perpetrators will be tracked down".

In Europe, several multinational companies are said to be affected, including the shipping carrier Danish Maersk or the giant british advertising WPP.

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