Cyberattacks Spread From Ukraine to Europe, US

New cyberattack causes mass disruption in Europe

"A massive ransomware campaign is now unfolding worldwide", said Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender, where analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that it appeared to be almost identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage- taking programs that has been circulating for months. In Ukraine, the power grid, banks and government offices were hit, leading the country's prime minister to call the breach, "unprecedented".

Some IT specialists identified the newcomer as "Petrwrap", a modified version of ransomware called Petya which circulated a year ago.

Petya, however, can spread via email through boobytrapped Office documents, unlike WannaCry.

A month after the WannaCry ransomware hobbled hundreds of thousands of computers around the world, another major ransomware attack is making its way across Europe, Russia, the United States, and elsewhere-locking the victims' computers and demanding ransom payments.

"As a result of these cyber attacks these banks are having difficulties with client services and carrying out banking operations", the central bank said in a statement.

Ukraine's security experts are working to fix the problem, according to the government portal.

Russia's Rosneft, one of the world's biggest crude producers by volume, said its systems had suffered "serious consequences", but added oil production had not been affected because it switched over to backup systems. The attack then shows a message that instructs users to pay $300 in bitcoin in order to restore access.

A number of other European companies reported being targeted as well, including British advertising giant WPP and French industrial group Saint-Gobain.

Maersk issued a similar statement, saying its IT systems "are down across multiple sites and business units due to a cyberattack".

The attacks started around 2:00 pm Moscow time (1100GMT) and quickly spread to 80 companies in Ukraine and Russian Federation, said cybersecurity company Group IB.

The cryptolocker demands $300 in bitcoins and does not name the encrypting program, which makes finding a solution hard, said Group IB spokesman Evgeny Gukov in an emailed comment. In Spain, local media reports the attack hit food conglomerate Mondelez and law firm DLA Piper.

One of the firms Group-IB said had been hit in Russia, Damco, which is Maersk's logistics company.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, ‏ says Petya uses other exploits to spread in internal systems.

Yevhen Dykhne, director of the capital's Boryspil Airport, said it had been hit.

The government press service said Petya hit "personal computers" of some individuals but not government servers.

The Department of Homeland Security is also monitoring the cyberattacks.

Ukraine, and to a lesser degree other countries including France and Russian Federation, were hit by a massive cyberattack in which a ransomware virus known as Petya infected a vast number of computer systems.

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