Ransomware 'Petya' spotted in Korea for first time

Hackers strike across Europe, sparking widespread disruption

Ukraine's central bank said several lenders had been hit in the country, hindering operations and leading the regulator to warn other financial institutions to tighten security measures. There have also been reports that multiple US companies have been disrupted by the attack.

"A massive ransomware campaign is now unfolding worldwide", said Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender, where analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that it appeared to be almost identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage- taking programs that has been circulating for months.

India's largest container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) was also interrupted as the virus attacked operations at one of the three terminals of JNPT.

WPP tweeted that "IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected by a suspected cyber attack". Maersk said its sites were down across "multiple sites and businesses due to a cyberattack;" Rosnoft said it faced a "powerful hacker attack".

It's not clear whether or why the ransomware has suddenly become so much more potent, but Botezatu said that it was likely spreading automatically across a network, without the need for human interaction. This has led to the researchers to dub the unknown ransomware as "NotPetya" for reporting purposes. The event was a dark mirror to the similar WannaCry ransomware incident from a month ago.

EternalBlue was in a batch of hacking tools leaked earlier this year that are believed to have belonged to the U.S. National Security Agency.

How is this different from WannaCry?

Production at the Cadbury factory on the island state of Tasmania ground to a halt late on Tuesday after computer systems went down, said Australian Manufacturing and Workers Union state secretary John Short.

According to Juniper, the malware does not just encrypt files on a targeted system one by one - it also encrypts the hard drive's master file table (MFT) which renders the master boot record (MBR) useless and the system unable to boot.

GoldenEye then forcefully crashes the victim's computer and triggers a reboot which makes it unusable until $300 in Bitcoin has been handed over.

Like WannaCry, Petya's ransom note shows the same Bitcoin address for every victim. The virus extorts a $300 ransom in bitcoins for the resumption of work and file-decrypting.

How do I protect myself?

The spread of the attack across the globe and into Asia underscores how ransomware is becoming a routine risk of doing business. In case you are hit by the ransomware, switch off the computer the moment you see this image and don't turn it on.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pantami called on network administrators in the public and private sectors as well as individuals to isolate any infected system from their network to prevent the threat from further spreading. Users should install the update if they have not already done so because this one poses a serious security problem.

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