Instead of encrypting files one by one, it denies access to the full system by attacking low-level structures on the hard disk.
Ukraine, and to a lesser degree other countries including France and Russian Federation, were hit by a massive cyberattack in which a ransomware virus known as Petya infected a vast number of computer systems.
Banks were experiencing "difficulty in servicing customers and performing banking operations" due to the attacks, it said.
Many major banks have reportedly been attacked, however it remains unclear if any incidents are indeed targeted.
METRO: The German retailer said its wholesale stores in the Ukraine had been hit by a cyberattack.
A number of companies and agencies across Europe reported that they were under cyberattack on Tuesday, including Russian oil and gas company Rosneft and Danish shipping firm Maersk. "The WannaCry attack and now Petya clearly demonstrate that hackers do not discriminate which type of business they are targeting".
The attack is looking increasingly worrying because now only 20 out of 61 registered anti-virus softwares are picking the Petya virus up, according to virus analysis tool VirusTotal.
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A spokesperson for DLA Piper, a global law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., also confirmed that malware had spread to its system.
Raj Samani, head of strategic intelligence at McAfee LLC, a computer security software company, issued the following statement regarding the Petya, or "PetrWrap" ransomware outbreak: "McAfee has received multiple reports of modified variants of the Petya ransomware variants". As the malware began to spread across the United States, it affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco.
The "Petya" virus does appear to also be using the leaked hacking tools, most likely the so-called DoublePulsar exploit, developed by the U.S. National Security Agency to spread quickly throughout vulnerable corporate networks with outdated security software. Symantec seems to think the ransomware is using an exploit in computer systems known as Eternal Blue.
After infection, the affected systems show text: "If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible because they are encrypted. Perhaps you are busy looking to recover your files but don't waste your time". Emails sent to an address posted to the bottom of ransom demands went unreturned. "Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service".
One of the firms Group-IB said had been hit in Russia, Damco, which is Maersk's logistics company. But according to security firm Kaspersky Lab, preliminary findings indicate the attacks are from a new ransomware which it's calling "NotPetya".
An advisor to Ukraine's interior minister said the virus got into computer systems via "phishing" emails written in Russian and Ukrainian, created to lure employees into opening them. "IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected", the company said in emailed statement.