But, Ukraine is not the only country to have been attacked by the latest ransomware bug.
Since the WannaCry attack just a few weeks ago prompted many people to apply the latest Windows patches to protect themselves, NotPetya introduced “more spreading mechanisms to be more successful”, McAfee said.
Ukraine and Russian Federation appeared hardest hit by the new strain of ransomware – malicious software that locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release.
Berlin-based email provider Posteo also said it had blocked an account that was being used by attackers.
Wysopal says the attack seems to be hitting large industrial companies that “typically have a hard time patching all of their machines because so many systems simply can not have down time”. Meanwhile, Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands a ransom to release it. The strain of ransomware was first spotted in Mauch.
The hack’s scale and the use of ransomware quickly recalled the massive May cyber attack in which hackers likely linked to North Korea disabled computers in dozens of nations, including Ukraine, using a flaw that was once incorporated by the National Security Agency’s surveillance tool kit.
If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible, because they have been encrypted. On Facebook, MEDoc acknowledged having been hacked. This means, even if computers have installed the Microsoft patch, they can still be attacked if even one machine in a specific network has not been patched.
Cyberattacks blamed on pro-Russia hackers have twice taken down sizeable portions of Ukraine’s power grid. As of press time, the ransomware has affected already a number of establishments in Ukraine and the rest of Europe, including pharmaceutical firm Merck, radiation monitoring system Chernobyl, law firm DLA Piper, shipping firm Maersk, advertising agency WPP, Ukraine’s state power distributor Ukrenergo, and more banks and airports.
Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk said it was among the victims, reporting outages at facilities including its Los Angeles terminal.
Moscow-based anti-virus provider Kaspersky Lab said it had detected 2,000 attacks on Tuesday, mostly in Russian Federation and Ukraine but also in Poland, Italy, Britain, France, the United States and Germany.
India-based employees at Beiersdorf, makers of Nivea skin care products, and Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Enfamil and Lysol, told Reuters the ransomware attack had impacted some of their systems in the country.
Some of the affected companies and institutions have claimed that the virus has disabled their e-mails and, therefore, prevented them from contacting the cybercriminals to recover their information after their computers were disconnected.
Europol said it is investigating the attack as well.
Security software vendor McAfee said that the modified Petya attack had more potential to hit the general public than WannaCry, but that it had so far been mainly detected in business environments.
Russia’s Rosneft, one of the world’s biggest crude producers by volume, said its systems had suffered “serious consequences” but said oil production had not been affected because it switched over to backup systems.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko on Tuesday posted a picture of a darkened computer screen to Twitter, saying that the computer system at the government’s headquarters has been shut down.
Computers across the world have been struck by a major ransomware cyberattack, with Ukrainian companies among the worst hit.