Thousands of computer users around the world today tried to reboot their systems after a new cybercrime, which began yesterday from Ukraine and spread to Russia, Europe and the United States.
Malicious software required ransoms of $300 (about 260 euros) to unlock the files they had locked at companies and government agencies, including the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Examining the software, Internet security experts have come to the conclusion that this ransomware has many similarities to “WannaCry”, which last month had invaded at least 300,000 computers in 150 countries.
However, this new attack seems to have spread to a much smaller scale than “WannaCry”, with “Kaspersky Labs” security company calculating the number of affected systems at 2,000. So far, there is no indication of who is behind the recent cyber-attack.
As reported by the French News Agency, some IT specialists have recognized that this new ransomware is a modified version of the “Petrwrap” malicious software, or “Petya”, which occurred last year. Kaspersky described the new malicious software as a new form of ransomware.
For its part, the government of Ukraine, where allegedly started the whole problem, announced that the attack was under control, but large organizations continue to face problems.
“The widespread cybercrime attack that hit corporate and government networks, which took place yesterday, June 27, has been stopped“,
the Ukrainian government said in a statement.
The situation is under full control of cyber security experts and intensive efforts are being made to recover lost data.”
Meanwhile, despite assurances from senior officials, Chernobyl nuclear officials continued to use “Geiger” counters to majeure radiation levels, since the unit’s systems were among those who were infected.
The attacks began in Kiev on Tuesday afternoon and quickly spread to around 80 companies in Ukraine and Russia, according to a statement by the cyber security company “Group IB”.
In Russia, large companies, such as the “Rosneft” oil company, reported that their systems were significantly affected.
Shortly afterwards, multinationals in Western Europe and the United States also reported that they had been the victims of the ransomware.
Among the companies that reported problems were the global shipping company “Maersk”, the British advertising group “BPP”, the French industrial group “Saint-Gowin” and the American pharmaceutical Industry “Mersk”.
Internet security experts said Tuesday’s cyber attacks were taking advantage of an already corrected vulnerability in Windows, and it seems that Ukraine was the primary target.
“From our initial analysis, we came to the conclusion that the cybercrime uses multiple techniques to spread it, including a vulnerability on the Windows XP platforms up to Windows 10, for which a security patch has been released”,
told the French news agency a Microsoft representative.
Following May attacks with “WannaCry” malware, “Microsoft” had urged users to protect their systems through “MS17-010” update.
So far, there are no indications as to who is behind the recent cyber attacks, but experts say it is probably a criminal fraud, and Ukraine has made it clear that there is a great possibility that Russia might be responsible.
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