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Petya ransomware: Major firms say targets of global cyber attack

28 June, 2017, 19:05 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Hackers strike across Europe, sparking widespread disruption

Microsoft said that the ransomware infected more than 12,500 machines in Ukraine on Tuesday, before spreading to 64 countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Russia and the United States. An email address provided by the criminals has been shut down by the hosting provider, while the Bitcoin wallet - where ransoms are deposited - has not been touched. Without giving a specific total, Qihoo's chief security engineer, Zheng Wenbin, said that the number of discrete incidences of the malware trying to infect a computer was only a tenth of what was seen during WannaCry.

India-based employees at Beiersdorf, makers of Nivea skin care products, and Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Enfamil and Lysol, told Reuters the ransomware attack had affected some of their systems. Zhora's firm did triage on a well-coordinated attack blamed on pro-Russian hackers that tried to thwart the country's May 2014 election.

The "Petya" cyberattack that has now struck computers in at least 65 countries can be traced to a Ukrainian company's tax accounting software, Microsoft says.

Security experts said they expected the impact to be smaller than WannaCry since many computers had been patched with Windows updates in the wake of WannaCry last month to protect them against attacks using Eternal Blue code. "Companies are just not doing what they are supposed to do to fix the problem".

The Ukraine president's deputy head of administration, Dmytro Shymkiv said its officials were paying a "high level of attention" to the attack, but its IT systems were operating as normal. This figure is expected to balloon once latest data is available.

By late Tuesday, roughly $8,500 had been deposited in Bitcoin accounts linked to the attack.

Ukraine's National Bank was the first to report a cyber attack, warning banks and institutions about a risky malware. "We are assessing the situation and are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible and we regret any inconvenience to our customers". The affected users are told to pay USD300 in cryptocurrency per infected computer to unlock their systems.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman described the attack as "unprecedented" in a post on Facebook. "The attack will be repelled and the perpetrators will be tracked down".

The "Petya" ransomware has caused serious disruption through the United States and Europe, with large firms including the advertising giant WPP, French construction materials company Saint-Gobain and Russian steel and oil firms Evraz and Rosneft being unable to unlock their computers even if they pay the ransom.

Hackers have caused widespread disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard.

The Bank of Russia also reported about cyber attacks on Russian credit organizations, which have not disrupted the activity of banks. In Russia, the virus targeted the Rosneft and Bashneft oil companies, Mars, Nivea and Mondelez International.

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