Ukraine reports victory in cyberattack; others still struggling


dpa

MOSCOW — The Ukrainian government said Wednesday that it had managed to completely restore its computer networks after a massive cyberattack using a ransomware virus that shut down systems worldwide the day before.

The virus, which exploits a security gap in the world’s most common operating system, Microsoft Windows, spread quickly this week, paralyzing dozens of companies throughout Europe and the United States.

“The situation is under the full control of cybersecurity specialists. They are currently working on recovering lost data,” the Ukrainian government said in a statement.

The ransomware, linked to the Petya family of viruses first detected last year, locks up computers, demanding a ransom payment in the digital currency bitcoin to remove the block.

The payment method — via an email address that was quickly shut down — is considered amateurish and led to speculation that the virus’ purpose was not monetary gain, but rather to simply cause damage.

Ukraine reported heavy disruption from the virus, with banks, companies and government agencies being affected. Radiation monitoring at the Chernobyl nuclear facility had to be performed manually due to a related systems failure.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman described the attack as “unprecedented” in a post on Facebook.

Russian state oil companies Rosneft and Bashneft were affected, as were Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk, British advertising agency WPP and Dutch shipping company TNT Express. Several companies that reported problems Tuesday were still grappling with the attack.

The incident was the second such attack in two months. A similar virus known as WannaCry spread to computers in more than 150 countries in May.