How bad was the cyberattack that hit Europe? This bad

Mandy Carr
June 28, 2017

Britain's WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, said computer systems within several of its agencies had been hit by a suspected cyber attack.

"The central bank is confident that the banking infrastructure's defence against cyber fraud is properly set up and attempted cyber attacks on banks' IT systems will be neutralised", it said.

A Maersk representative told AFP that company systems are "down across all business units due to a virus".

In the US, pharmaceutical Merck announced via Twitter its computer network was compromised.

"We confirm our company's computer network was compromised today as part of a global hack".

The source of the attacks was not immediately clear.

The strikes follow the global ransomware assault involving the WannaCry virus that affected hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries as extortionists demanded $300 in bitcoin from victims.

The attacks started around 2pm Moscow time (9pm AEST) and quickly spread to 80 companies in Ukraine and Russian Federation, said cybersecurity company Group IB.

Security experts said they expected the impact to be smaller than WannaCry since many computers had been patched with Windows updates in the wake of WannaCry last month to protect them against attacks using Eternal Blue code. Yet an analyst from Kaspersky Lab told NPR that the outbreak is coming from a "new ransomware we haven't seen before".

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The WannaCry ransomware epidemic utilized one of a handful of powerful cyber tools stolen from the NSA and leaked to the public in March by an underground group, The Shadow Brokers.

Any organisation that heeded strongly worded warnings in recent months from Microsoft to urgently install a security patch and take other steps appeared to be protected against the latest attacks.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday the agency was monitoring the situation and coordinating with domestic and global cyber partners.

In a separate statement, Europol said it's in talks with "member states and key industry partners to establish the full nature of this attack at this time".

Ukrainian companies and government agencies seem to have been hit particularly hard.

The Ukraine's deputy Prime Minister has even shared pics of the government system, declaring the government's headquarters have been shut down. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant also reportedly switched to manual radiation monitoring because of the attack. In a statement, it said that "in connection with the cyber attack, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant website is not working".

A message demanding money is seen on a terminal monitor at a branch of Ukraine's state-owned Oschadbank after Ukrainian institutions were hit by a wave of cyberattacks earlier Tuesday in Kiev, Ukraine.

Ransomware victims are always advised not to pay the ransom to get their files back, and in this case, it would be futile.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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