Hackers strike across Europe, sparking widespread disruption

Hackers strike across Europe, sparking widespread disruption

The attack struck at 2 p.m. local time, Ukraine’s government says.

HACKERS have caused widespread chaos on government and business computers starting in Russian Federation and Ukraine and quickly spreading around the globe. It stressed that it was not attributing blame to the company. “I first saw reports of this attack around 8 a.m”.

The blocked address may make it hard for hackers to capitalize on the digital havoc, but it may also complicate victims’ attempts to retrieve their data.

Posteo, based in Berlin, did not return an email seeking further comment. For this reason, Kaspersky announced in a statement it would be coining a new name for the ransomware: “ExPetr”.

“In connection with the irregular situation, some flight delays are possible”, Dykhne said in a post on Facebook.

Cie de Saint-Gobain, a French manufacturer, said its systems had also been infected, though a spokeswoman declined to elaborate, and the French national railway system, the SNCF, was also affected, according to Le Parisien. Company officials said the incident is under investigation.

WPP’s global website wpp.com is now inaccessible, but the company said this is due to “important routine maintenance”.

A Swiss government agency also reported computer systems were affected in India, though the country’s cyber security agency said it had yet to receive any reports of attacks.

The first attacks were reported from Russian Federation and Ukraine.

The world is still recovering from a previous outbreak of ransomware, called WannaCry or WannaCrypt, which spread rapidly using digital break-in tools originally created by the U.S. National Security Agency and recently leaked to the web. Other than that, the latest malware is different from WannaCry.

Any organisation that heeded strongly worded warnings in recent months from Microsoft Corp to urgently install a security patch and take other steps appeared to be protected against the latest attacks.

The BBC is reporting that even the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been hit, with staff being forced to monitor radiation levels manually after the computers that run the plant’s sensors were impacted. The documents, once opened, will download and run the Petya installer and execute the worm to spread to other connected computers.

A Ukrainian media company said its computers were blocked and had received the ransom demand.

A hospital and health care system based in western Pennsylvania says it is dealing with a widespread cyberattack.

Among the companies hit by the attack in the US was the Heritage Valley Health System, a network of health care providers in Pennsylvania.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the cyberattack was related to the outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software that appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe Tuesday.

In the first confirmed cases in the United States, Merck, the drug giant, confirmed that its global computer networks had been hit, as did DLA Piper, the multinational law firm.

By midafternoon, breaches had been reported at computers governing the municipal energy company and airport in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, the state telecommunications company Ukrtelecom, the Ukrainian postal service and the State Savings Bank of Ukraine.

Ryan Kalember, a security expert at Proofpoint, said one reason the attacks appeared to be slowing down was that the ransomware appears to spread only when a direct contact exists between two networks – such as when a global company’s Ukraine office interacts with headquarters.

Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Pavlo Rozenko, tweeted a screenshot of his malfunctioning computer saying computers at the Cabinet of Ministers had been affected. More details are sure to come to light in coming days as security researchers continue digging into the attack code and search for its perpetrators.

In Europe, Danish sea transport company Maersk, British advertising giant WPP and French industrial group Saint-Gobain all came under attack as did USA pharmaceutical group Merck.

A new global ransomware attack has targeted businesses around the world, demonstrating how easy it is for hackers to extort money by taking advantage of outdated technology.