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'GoldenEye' cyber attack goes global, exploits known code flaws

'GoldenEye' cyber attack goes global, exploits known code flaws

A major global cyber attack which has disrupted computers at Russia's biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms has reached Australia.

The malware, which has been dubbed NotPetya, has been confirmed by multiple security firms to resemble the WannaCry ransomware attack, which in May infected hundreds of thousands of computers by taking advantage of a National Security Agency hacking tool called Eternal Blue.

This time, the ransomware attacks first gained widespread notice in the Ukraine, where government departments, the nation's central bank, and private firms saw their computer systems crippled by a virus that was initially identified as "Petya".

While the attacks have affected banking operations in Ukraine and will likely lead to some flight delays out of Boryspil airport, they don't seem to have impacted services on a grander scale.

They quickly spread to 80 companies in Ukraine and Russian Federation, and the wave was followed by attacks on Danish sea transport company Maersk, British advertising giant WPP and the French industrial group Saint-Gobain.

Petya is the latest form of malware that locks up computers and demands users pay 300-U.S. dollars in the virtual currency bitcoin to unlock each system.

The scale and use of ransomware has similarities to last month's cyber attack, which some experts linked to North Korea.




Remember the ransomware WannaCry that hit the globe last month?

Although no one knows yet who's behind the attack, some are comparing it to the WannaCry cyberattacks from May.

Hackers launched blistering ransomware attacks Tuesday against companies and agencies across the world, particularly targeting Ukranian businesses. And experts are still trying to figure out who's responsible.

Security experts said they did not believe that the ransomware released on Tuesday had a kill switch, meaning that it might be harder to stop.

A Ukrainian media company said its computers were blocked and had received the ransom demand. The health system is running on downtime procedures and made operational adjustments to ensure there's no disruption to care. "As a result of these cyber-attacks, banks were forced to restrict the functionality of services provided to customers".

An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said earlier in the day that the virus got into computer systems via "phishing" emails written in Russian and Ukrainian created to lure employees into opening them.

Nyetya is also very similar to WannaCry, the ransomware that affected 200,000 people in 150 countries in May, encrypting data on infected computers and asking for a ransom to recover them, said Talos cybersecurity executive Craig Williams.


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