Reuters: Cyber attack sweeps across Russia and Asia
A major global cyber attack disrupted computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms with a virus similar to the ransomware that infected more than 300,000 computers last month .
The rapidly spreading cyber extortion campaign, which began on Tuesday, underscored growing concerns that businesses have failed to secure their networks from increasingly aggressive hackers, who have shown they are capable of shutting down critical infrastructure and crippling corporate and government networks.
Businesses in the Asia-Pacific region reported some disruptions on Wednesday with the operations of several European companies hit, including India’s largest container port, although the impact on companies and governments across the wider region appeared to be limited.
The ransomware virus includes code known as “Eternal Blue”, which cyber security experts widely believe was stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and was also used in last month’s ransomware attack, named “WannaCry”.
“Cyber attacks can simply destroy us,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of cyber security firm Secure Ideas. “Companies are just not doing what they are supposed to do to fix the problem.”
The virus crippled computers running Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demanded $300 in bitcoin payments to restore access. More than 30 victims paid into the bitcoin account associated with the attack, according to a public ledger of transactions listed on blockchain.info.
Microsoft said the virus could spread through a flaw that was patched in a security update in March.
“We are continuing to investigate and will take appropriate action to protect customers,” a spokesman for the company said, adding that Microsoft antivirus software detects and removes it.
India-based employees at Beiersdorf, makers of Nivea skin care products, and Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L), which owns Enfamil and Lysol, told Reuters the ransomware attack had affected some of their systems.
In Australia, a Cadbury chocolate factory was hit, a trade union official said. Production at the Hobart factory on the island state of Tasmania ground to a halt late on Tuesday after computer systems went down.
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