Europe Hit By Major Ransomware Attack Bringing Businesses To A Close

A major ransomware attack has brought businesses in Europe to a close. The fresh attack is reminiscent of the WanneCry virus, which hit various computers across the globe just last month.

The Daily Mail reports that among those heavily hit is Ukraine’s central bank, Kiev’s Boryspil Airport, Russian oil company Rosnoft and Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister posted an image of his locked computer revealing that “all computers of the government” had fallen victim to the virus. The message on his black screen covered in white text says, “One of your disks contains errors and needs to be repaired.”

To make matters worse, the screen warns not to switch off the computer or all data will be lost. Another screen with red text warns that the computer’s data has been encrypted, and will be released only when payment of £300 in Bitcoin has been made.

Copenhagen-based spokesman for A.P. Moller-Maersk Anders Rosendahl said, “We are talking about a cyberattack. It has affected all branches of our business, at home and abroad.”

“We can confirm that Maersk IT systems are down across multiple sites and business units. We are currently assessing the situation,” the shipping company posted on Twitter adding that the source of the outage is not known.

Russia’s Rosneft said that the cyberattack had hit its servers but oil production was unaffected. RT also reports that international steel and mining company EVRAZ has also fallen victim to the cyberattack, as well as Britain’s WPP, the world’s biggest advertising agency.


Meanwhile, a researcher for Kaspersky Lab identified the virus as Petrwrap. According to the Verge, Petrwrap is a strain of the Petya ransomware which was identified by the firm in March. A recovered sample of the virus suggests that it has been infecting machines for some time.

Europe is hit by a ransomware reminiscent of last month's WannaCry.
[Image from Shutterstock]

It is unclear how the virus is spreading and if it is like WannaCry, which exploits novel vulnerabilities to infect new machines. As reported, once a computer is infected, it will instruct its user to pay a fine to a static Bitcoin address, after which the bitcoin wallet and personal ID should be emailed to a Posteo address. According to the Verge, blockchain records reveal five transactions were already made to the target wallet, amounting to a rough total of $1,443.

[Featured Image by Michel Porro/Getty Images]