A new cyberattack similar to WannaCry is spreading across Europe, hitting major companies from Rosneft PJSC in Moscow to A.P. Moller-Maersk in Copenhagen while disrupting government systems in Kiev.
More than 80 companies in Russia and Ukraine were affected by the Petya virus that disabled computers on Tuesday and told users to pay $300 in cryptocurrency to unlock them, according to the Moscow-based cybersecurity company Group-IB. Telecommunications operators and retailers were also affected and the virus is spreading in a similar way to the WannaCry attack in May, it said.
The intrusion is “the biggest in Ukraine’s history,” Anton Gerashchenko, an aide to the Interior Ministry, wrote on Facebook. The goal was “the destabilization of the economic situation and in the civic consciousness of Ukraine,” though it was “disguised as an extortion attempt,” he said.
Company and government officials reported serious intrusions at the Ukrainian power grid, banks and government offices, where one senior official posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, “the whole network is down.” Ukraine’s prime minister said the attack was unprecedented but that “vital systems haven’t been affected.”
The number of companies and agencies reportedly affected by the ransomware campaign was piling up fast, and the electronic rampage appeared to be rapidly snowballing into a real-world crisis. Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblaad says that container ship terminals in Rotterdam run by a unit of Maersk were also affected. Rosneft said that the company narrowly avoided major damage.