Ransomware Hits In A New Form, Cripples Europe
A highly virulent attack by the malicious data-scrambling software- Ransomware- has crippled European countries in a big way on Tuesday night. It spreads across the world, hitting governmental networks and cyber firms. Cyber security departments have swung into action immediately but nothing substantial could be done even beyond 1 a.m.
The attack was first reported from Ukraine when the officials have reported “serious intrusions of the country’s power grid as well as at banks and government offices”. A senior executive has even posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, “the whole network is down.” The Ukrainian prime minister however said that the country’s “vital systems” hadn’t been affected.
Several countries have followed. Russia’s Rosneft oil company,Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk and US drug maker Merck have issued statements that their networks have been compromised. The number of firms have slowly increased and by 11 pm, more than 140 networks have been forced to shut down.
By midnight, the attack spread to all major countries and it became a worldwide crisis.
“A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide,” said Romanian cyber security company Bitdefender, where analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that it appeared to be nearly identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage-taking programs that has been circulating for months. Some analysts were calling the new form of ransomware Petya.
It’s not clear whether or why the ransomware has suddenly become so much more potent, but Botezatu said that it was likely spreading automatically across a network, without the need for human interaction. Such self-spreading software, often called “worms,” are particularly feared because they can replicate rapidly, like a contagious disease.
The world is still recovering from a previous outbreak of ransomware, called WannaCry or WannaCrypt.