A new wave of ransomware attack has reportedly hit numerous companies across the world on Tuesday, taking out servers and disrupting IT systems.
The cyber-attack initially hit Ukrainian companies affecting major firms, government departments, the central bank, a state-run aircraft manufacturer, the airport in Kiev and the metro network have all been paralysed by the hack.
The country’s Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko posted a picture of a darkened computer screen to Twitter, saying that the computer system at the government’s headquarters has been shut down.
Та-дам! Секретаріат КМУ по ходу теж "обвалили". Мережа лежить. pic.twitter.com/B74jMsT0qs
— Rozenko Pavlo (@RozenkoPavlo) June 27, 2017
He added that the cyber-attack affecting his country is “unprecedented,” but “vital systems haven’t been affected.”
According to reports, the ransomware appears to be spreading across the world making its way to other countries including the United States, Russia, Spain and India.
In the first confirmed cases in the US, Merck, the drug giant, confirmed that its global computer networks had been hit, as did DLA Piper, the multinational law firm.
A number of companies including the Danish shipping giant Maersk; Rosneft, the Russian energy giant; Saint-Gobain, the French construction materials company; and WPP, the British advertising agency have also reportedly said they had been targeted.
Analysts said the virus was a variant of Petya, which is a ‘ransomware-as-a-service’ available in the dark web. Furthermore, it appeared to work similarly to the WannaCry ransomware that infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries last month. However, others cautioned that it could be yet another type of ransomware.
It remains unclear who is behind this most recent cyberattack. Like the previous WannaCry attacks in May, Tuesday’s hack takes over computers and demands digital ransom to regain control.