New Cyberattack Causes Mass Disruption in Europe

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 29, 2017

More than 30 victims are believed to have paid the ransom so far, although it is unclear whether their files were then decrypted. 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.

Russia's central bank said there were isolated cases of lenders' IT systems being infected.

Among the companies reporting problems were global shipping firm Maersk, British advertising giant WPP, French industrial group Saint-Gobain and U.S. pharmaceutical group Merck.

"Protection systems have been quite effective both at state and corporate levels", said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

ESET, an anti-virus vendor based in Bratislava, said 80 percent of all infections from the new attack detected among its global customer base were in Ukraine, with Italy second hardest hit at around 10 percent.

"The only reliable defence against the recent Petya ransomware attacks is backup", says Nigel Tozer, solutions marketing director at Commvault.

"My sense is this starts to look like a state operating through a a kind of experiment to see what happens", Lord told Reuters on Wednesday.

The attack was confirmed to have spread beyond Europe when US drugmaker Merck, based in New Jersey, said its systems had also been compromised.

Security researchers said Tuesday's virus could leap from computer to computer once unleashed within an organization but, unlike WannaCry, it could not randomly trawl the internet for its next victims, limiting its scope to infect. Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a patch for the flaw in March, but not all companies have used it.

An explanation of how to do this has been posted by security news website Bleeping Computer and has been backed up by several other security experts.

A new, highly virulent strain of malicious software that is crippling computers globally appears to have been sown in Ukraine, where it badly hobbled much of the government and private sector on the eve of a holiday celebrating a post-Soviet constitution.

Austria's government-backed Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) said "a small number" of global firms appeared to be affected, with tens of thousands of computers taken down.

"We have contained the issue and are working on a technical recovery plan with key IT partners and global cyber security agencies", Maersk, which handles one in every seven containers shipped world wide, said in a stock exchange announcement. On Facebook, MEDoc acknowledged having been hacked.

M.K. Sirkar, a manager at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai, said that no containers could be loaded or unloaded at the terminal operated by shipper A.P. Moller-Maersk on Wednesday.

Cie de Saint-Gobain, a French manufacturer, said its systems had also been infected, though a spokeswoman declined to elaborate. Sirkar said that no containers could be loaded or unloaded at the terminal Wednesday.

BNP Paribas Real Estate, which provides property and investment management services, confirmed it had been hit but declined to specify how widely it had affected its business.

"The worldwide cyber attack hit our non-bank subsidiary, Real Estate".

"The restoration of banking systems can not be carried out immediately - this takes time", a spokeswoman said.

The first Australian company to be hit was the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania.

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