Cyber Attacks Hit Europe and Could Hit United States, Widespread Disruption


Technology experts suggest the attacks bear the markers of ransomware Petya

Ukraine has been one of the countries hit the worst by the attack. Adviser to Ukraine’s interior Minister Anton Geraschchenko wrote on Facebook that the attack was the “largest in the history of Ukraine”, and categorized it as a “war in cyberspace.”

Ukrainian power grids, banks, government offices, and the international airport. Frighteningly, the radiation monitoring system of Chernobyl (site of mass nuclear disaster in 1986) was reportedly impacted by the attack too.

A spokeswoman for the Chernobyl monitoring site stated that handheld monitors are being used in the meantime until the situation can be secured.

Photos of packed supermarkets indicate that even the electronic cash registers were affected in Ukraine.

The world’s largest advertising company, WPP, based in Britain was also affected, as was Saint Gobain, a French construction company, and Russia’s Rosneft energy company.

Most experts agree the virus is an updated version of Petya

Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at Surrey University, stated: “It appears to be a variant of a piece of ransomware that emerged last year. It was updated earlier in 2017 by the criminals when certain aspects were defeated.”

A Swiss IT government agency agrees with Woodward, saying: “there have been indications of late that Petya is in circulation again”. The new virus has been dubbed “Petwrap”.

Similar to the WannaCry attack in May, the Petrwrap virus could have severe consequences. The WannaCry attack affected over 200,000 victims in 150 countries, and the Petrwrap attack list of victims continue to grow.

Nicolas Duvinage, head of France’s digital crime unit, compared the Petrwrap virus to a flu virus. “This is a bit like a flu epidemic in winter. We will get many of these viral attack waves in coming months.”