Cyber security experts say a ransomware computer virus first reported in the Ukraine and Russia, and which is now spreading throughout the world, uses the same computer hacking exploit as did the WannaCry virus which crippled hundreds of thousands of computers last month.
Reports of the virus first emerged in the Ukraine when government officials signalled the country’s infrastructure ministry, state postal service, largest telephone firm and several banks were affected. An advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister said a version of the WannaCry ransomware had caused outages on government websites and those of several companies.
The next country reporting issues was Russia. Top oil producer, Rosneft, said it had been affected by a large scale cyber-attack. As was Russia’s largest steelmaker Evraz. Both companies confirmed they were hit by the global cyber-attack but that their production remained unaffected.
A supermarket in Ukraine.
The country is under cyberattack.
In the Netherlands, Rotterdam TV reported 17 APM shipping container terminals were hit by the hack. APM is a subsidiary of shipping giant Maersk who confirmed it was also impacted by the global attack. Two of the company’s terminals are located in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The 15 others are dispersed throughout the world.
The Norwegian national security authority also confirmed this latest cyber-attack hit an “international company” in Norway.
This latest cyber-attack, according to both Ukrainian and Swiss officials, appears to be a ransomware attack — in which a computer’s hard drive is encrypted and its contents held for ransom.
Ukrainian officials said the cyber-attack is a modified version of the WannaCry ransomware virus which last month devastated the UK’s health service a spread world-wide.
Cyber security experts said the global attack, dubbed GoldenEye, is a variant of the Petya virus. It utilises the same type of exploit as did WannaCry and once it infects a computer, its files are encrypted. Files will remain encrypted unless a ransom of 300 dollars’ worth of Bitcoins is paid.
In the Ukraine, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said the scale of the attack in the country was “unprecedented”, but that the country’s most important computer systems remained unaffected. Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council Secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov, said there are signs of Russian involvement in this latest cyber-attack.
Ukrainian officials say they believe the virus originated from Russia.