Second major cyber-attack in two months disrupts businesses around world

Hackers have caused widespread disruption across Europe hitting Ukraine especially hard. | AP file

"IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected by a suspected cyber attack", said WPP on its official Twitter account.

One of the firms Group-IB said had been hit in Russia, Damco, is Maersk's logistics company.

Mondelez, the company that owns Oreos, Cadbury and many other global snack brands, reported a computer outage across its global operations. Australian staff at global law firm DLA Piper are facing similar troubles, told to come in to work as usual but to avoid turning on or using any computers. Due to the attack the port has been trying to clear containers manually and one-third of its operations have been affected. That's because Petya can also spread through Office documents, taking advantage of yet another vulnerability and combining it with similar wormholes a la WannaCry.

Russia's Rosneft, one of the world's biggest crude producers by volume, said on Tuesday its systems had suffered "serious consequences" but said oil production had not been affected because it switched over to backup systems.

Ukraine and Russian Federation appeared hardest hit by Tuesday's violent outbreak of data-scrambling software that locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release.

The ransomware is "a new variant" of Petya, says Microsoft, adding that it has issued new security updates to protect computers running its Windows software.

Security vendors including Bitdefender and Kaspersky said the NSA exploit, known as EternalBlue, lets malware spread rapidly across internal networks at companies and other large organizations.

The virus could spread through a flaw that was patched in a security update in March, said Microsoft.

Sri Lanka plays uncapped batsman against Zimbabwe
Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will also clash in a one-Test match in Colombo starting July 14. The last ODI at Galle was in June 2000, when Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 37 runs.

Researchers are still investigating the software behind the attack, warning that it's more sophisticated than the WannaCry worm that struck hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe last month.

The bedeviling onslaught yesterday was also being referred to as ransomware by United States software titan Microsoft and security specialists. "We stand ready to support any requests for assistance". Stoltenberg said the "attack in May and this week just underlines the importance of strengthening our cyber defenses and that is what we are doing".

Ukraine's National Bank was the first to report a cyber attack, warning banks and institutions about a risky malware. It spread to other computers on companies' networks by leveraging software holes.

Ukrainian officials confirmed a possible link to MeDoc.

This ransomware was much more advanced than WannaCry, according to Craig Williams, senior tech lead and security outreach manager at Cisco Talos. Breaches were reported at computers governing the municipal energy company and airport in the capital, Kiev, the state telecommunications company Ukrtelecom, the Ukrainian postal service and the State Savings Bank of Ukraine.

Ukraine's vice prime minister, Pavlo Rozenko, tweeted a screenshot of his malfunctioning computer saying computers at the Cabinet of Ministers had been affected.

Maersk was one of the first global firms to be taken down by the cyber attack and its operations at major ports such as Mumbai in India, Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Los Angeles on the USA west coast were disrupted. In a statement, it said that "in connection with the cyber attack, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant website is not working".

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