Cyberattack Hits Ukraine Then Spreads Internationally

Technology > Security

A recent ransomware attack swept the globe Tuesday, June 27, paralyzing computers from Ukraine to the United States. Several companies including Rosneft, Merck, and Maersk were hit; ATMs in Kiev, Ukraine were inaccessible; danger was posed in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant as computers stopped, forcing workers to manually monitor radiation; and Cadbury’s factory was greatly affected.

Since the impact was global, the extent and severity of the attack has not yet been fully determined.

It is very noticeable that the attack was done in time for the anniversary of the adoption of the 1996 Ukraine Constitution after having been declared autonomous from Soviet Union.

The attack is said to have been a concoction of hacking tools that had been taken from the National Security Agency by Shadow Brokers, a group of hackers that began their malicious online work in the summer of 2016.

The attack, which uses the tool from the US National Security Agency called “Eternal Blue” crippled computers and flashed a demand on the screen for digital ransom so that users can once again access their system. Although the NSA is tight lipped on whether the virus utilized a tool from their end, security specialists are  demanding the agency to aid in the resolution of this growing problem.

IGT global chief information officer, Golan Ben-Oni said, “The N.S.A. needs to take a leadership role in working closely with security and operating system platform vendors such as Apple and Microsoft to address the plague that they’ve unleashed.” He also gave a heads-up to the federal officials that this may not be the last of the attacks of its kind.

European companies said they had also been targeted by the attacks. Officials from Ukraine are blaming Russia for the said attack even as Russian companies were similarly affected. Multinational companies and hospitals in the US were also hit, forcing them to cancel their operations. In Australia, DLA Piper disabled their emails to block any incidents but the company sent out warnings to their clients that they are having a “serious global cyber incident.” Even Qantas Airways had a breakdown in their booking system, but denied any connection to the global cyber attack.

According to Dan Tehan, Minister of Cyber Security, “ This ransomware attack is a wakeup call to all Australian businesses to regularly back up their data and install the latest security patches.”

Specialists identified the new attack as very similar to last years “Petya” attack and thus is very hard to trace, too. Petya ransomware was authored by Janus Cybercrime Solutions and received payments for it.Similar to the recent attack, Petya also demanded a $300 ransom for the computer access.

Photo By: Up9 / Wikimedia Commons