Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Cyber Attacks Cripple Companies Worldwide

Sammy Stanley | 29 June, 2017, 08:58

The virus spread across Europe and the U.S., impacting everything from computer systems at the Chernobyl nuclear plant to container terminals in Rotterdam owned by shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk. "We are investigating the matter and will provide additional information as we learn more".

"You became victim of the PETYA RANSOMWARE!" reads the text on a red screen in a photo posted by Ukraine's government portal on Facebook. Meanwhile, cyber security reporter Kevin Collier cited sources with insider knowledge of Merck's internal response to Petrwap.

According to security firm Bitdefender, they include: "Chernobyl's radiation monitoring system, DLA Piper law firm, pharma company Merck, a number of banks, an airport, the Kiev metro, Danish shipping and energy company Maersk, British advertiser WPP and Russian oil industry company Rosnoft".

A massive cyberattack that freezes computers and demands a ransom to open them has hit companies in the USA and around the world today, US officials and private cybersecurity analysts say.

A new variant of ransomware is quickly spreading around the globe.

The companies affected were hit by a type of ransomware that locks users out of the computer and demands purchase of a key to reinstate access, Group IB said.

While several researchers identified the virus as a derivative of the "Petya" ransomware, Kaspersky Lab, which congressional sources told ABC News is itself under Federal Bureau of Investigation scrutiny, disputed that assessment, concluding that the virus was "a new ransomware that has not been seen before" and dubbing it "NotPetya".

In either case, experts warn that it could spread globally, raising fears of another widespread attack like the WannaCry outbreak that struck in May.

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Cert NZ advised businesses and individuals to regularly update and back up their IT systems.

Interpol says it is also "closely monitoring" the suspected attack. "This could hit the United States of America pretty bad".

The ransomeware is also being referred to as GoldenEye - like the James Bond film - and is perpetrating attacks using vulnerabilities present in the Windows operating system (OS) of Microsoft.

An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said earlier in the day that the virus got into computer systems via "phishing" emails written in Russian and Ukrainian created to lure employees into opening them.

Once executed, Petya overwrites a machine's master boot record with a custom boot loader that begins the process of encrypting a system's files on reboot.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko said the government's computer network went down and the central bank reported disruption to operations at banks and firms including the state power distributor.

Rosneft released a statement, saying: "The hacking attack could have led to serious consequences but neither the oil production nor the processing has been affected thanks to the fact that the company has switched to a reserve control system". "We are assessing the situation and are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible", the company, part of FedEx, said in a statement to AFP.

It came as Russian oil giant Rosneft said its servers had suffered a "powerful" cyberattack. One consumer lender, Home Credit, had to suspend client operations.

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