Massive Malware Attack Hits Top International Businesses
Hackers launched crippling ransomware attacks on world’s biggest companies around the world, disrupting business firms and wreaking havoc on global economic networks.
The attack made headlines Tuesday when it hit Ukranian and Russian businesses, and later spread to 60 countries.
CNN reports say Tuesday’s ransomware attack also targeted British advertising agency WPP (WPPGY), Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft, and Danish shipping firm Maersk.
WPP said on its Twitter account, “IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected by a suspected cyber attack.”
Maersk was not exempted from the attack as well. It issued statement, saying its tech systems “are down across multiple sites and business units due to a cyberattack.”
Merck (MRK), an international developer, manufacturer and distributor of pharmaceuticals, also said it was hit.
“We confirm our company’s computer network was compromised today as part of global hack,” Merck said on Twitter.
The ransomware attacks affected prominent businesses worldwide, resulting in economic losses and halted business transactions. The risk-modeling firm Cyence said economic losses from this week’s attack and one last month from a virus “WannaCry” would reach a total $8 billion.
Courier and cargo shipping companies were badly hit by the ransomware as well. In fact, it affected Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), causing congestion at some of the 76 ports around the world.
In addition, U.S. delivery firm FedEx said its TNT Express division had been affected by the virus, spreading into South America.
Cadbury factory on the Australian island state of Tasmania halted mass production late on Tuesday after computer systems shut down.
The virus, which IT techs are calling GoldenEye or Petya, began its spread on Tuesday in Ukraine, a country that was hit especially hard by the attacks. It is believed to be similar to WannaCry, but it is more advanced. It infects computers and locks down their hard drives. It demanded victims a $300 ransom for recovery.
Microsoft, Cisco Systems Inc and Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) said they believed the first infections occurred in Ukraine. The virus initially transmitted to users of a tax software program, infecting computers that were running it. Later, it spread like wildfire, hitting international firms that have operations in Ukraine.