Europe, Ukraine targeted in massive hack attack

Phillip Butler
June 28, 2017

In the USA, pharmaceutical Merck announced via Twitter its computer network was compromised.

Several multinational companies said Tuesday they were targeted in a massive wave of cyberattacks which started in Russian Federation and Ukraine before spreading to western Europe.

"This outbreak does not appear to be as great as WannaCry, but the number of impacted organizations is significant", Raj Samani, McAfee Inc.'s head of strategic intelligence, said in an email.

Anton Gerashchenko, a lawmaker and adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, says he believes that despite its appearance as a ransomware hack, the attack is actually the work of Russian agents waging a type of hybrid warfare to try to destabilize Ukraine.

United Kingdom media company WPP Plc.'s website is down, and employees have been told to turn off their computers and not use WiFi, according to a person familiar with the matter.

WPP, the world's largest advertising agency, said it was also infected.

"A massive ransomware campaign is now unfolding worldwide", said Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender.

Maersk said on Twitter: "the safety of our customers' business and our people is our top priority".

"The virus is spreading all over Europe and I'm afraid it can harm the whole world", said Victor Zhora, the chief executive of Infosafe IT in Kiev, where reports of the malicious software first emerged earlier on Tuesday.

Maersk's port operator APM Terminals was also hit.

Thus, cyber security professionals confirmed that another attack launched would have an even bigger threat that would surpass the threat Wannacry or any previous cyber threat carried.

Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. said in a tweet its computer network was compromised as part of a global hack. If two back-to-back global ransomware outbreaks-ones that use the same method of infection, no less-aren't enough to stress the importance of security, we have to wonder what is. The central bank said an "unknown virus" was to blame for the latest attacks but did not give further details or say which banks and firms had been affected. That exploit took advantage of a vulnerability in the Windows operating systems.

Last month, CCN reported that a global ransomware campaign hit over 100 countries and netted attackers a few thousand dollars after infecting well over 100,000 computers.

The attack has hit Ukraine particularly hard.

The attack is already being described as the biggest in Ukranian history. The goal was "the destabilization of the economic situation and in the civic consciousness of Ukraine", though it was "disguised as an extortion attempt", he said. In Ukraine, the power grid, banks and government offices were hit, leading the country's prime minister to call the breach, "unprecedented". Rosneft said that the company narrowly avoided major damage. Ukraine's Central Bank warned on its website that several banks had been targeted by hackers.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

Discuss This Article