Latest cyber attacks affect over 2000 victims in Ukraine

Gladys Abbott
July 3, 2017

Cyber security firms have yet to identify who spread the NotPetya computer worm, which put computers out of operation across about 60 countries.

Russian companies, including the state-owned oil giant Rosneft, also said they were hit by the cyberattack, leading some cyber security researchers to suggest that Moscow was not behind it - most of the organisations affected by the attack recovered within 48 hours.

The second attack did not affect Ukraine's power network, Vsevolod Kovalchuk told a news briefing on Friday. The malware appeared on the eve of a holiday celebrating the country's independence and initially targeted an unlikely group: tax accountants.

The Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Group IB estimated that the virus affected about 80 companies in Russian Federation and Ukraine. The SBU said that it had obtained data that "points to a link with an attack" on Kiev, in December, the last time this ransomware reared its head.

"The virus was slightly different, of a different nature, similar to WannaCry", Kovalchuk said about the second attack.

Microsoft said it found that the ransomware is using multiple techniques to spread, including one that was addressed by the security patch released in March.

Latest cyber attacks affect over 2000 victims in Ukraine

Tim Rawlins, director of the Britain-based cybersecurity consultancy NCC Group, says the attacks continue to happen because people have not been keeping up with effectively patching their computers.

According to security firm Cisco Talos, the ransomware initially infected MeDoc, a piece of Ukranian accounting software.

Ukrainian officials confirmed a possible link to MeDoc.

Officials at Ukraine's postal service and metro system in Kiev also reported hacking problems.

Ukraine was the worst affected by the ransom-demanding virus. In a statement, it said that "in connection with the cyber attack, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant website is not working". The best way to mitigate damage from ransomware is to update operating systems and backup data.

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