Companies hit by global ransomware attack on June 27

Michel Porro

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk says its IT systems are down.

Some of the biggest corporations, including Russia's largest oil company Rosneft, Ukraine's global airport, shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk, and advertising giant WPP have been affected by Petya, which comes close on the heels of the "WannaCry" ransomware attack.

French construction materials company Saint Gobain SGOB.PA said it had been a victim of a cyber attack, and it had isolated its computer systems to protect data. When asked about the impact of the malware attack, Brijesh Singh, Maharashtra state cyber cell chief, said, "The state government's departments such as Customs, Excise etc are not affected in this attack. It's somewhat contained to the organizations that were connected to each other", he said.

Experts say this week's cyberattack had a far smaller impact on China than a similar virus in May, which caused widespread disruption.

"We are talking about a cyberattack", said Anders Rosendahl, a spokesman for the Copenhagen-based shipping group.

Mumbai: Concerned over the latest malware attack affecting the country's largest container port JNPT's operations, the government rushed National Cyber Security Advisor Gulshan Rai to the financial capital today, sources said. "We continue to assess and manage the situation to minimise the impact on our customers and partners", it said in a Tweeted update.

In a Facebook post, Maersk Line also confirmed that APM Terminals has been impacted at a number of ports.

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The virus even hit systems monitoring radiation at the site of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where computers running Windows were temporarily knocked offline. "They are trying to work manually", a senior JNPT official had said.

Victor Zhora, CEO of Infosafe IT in Kiev, says he believes the ransomware, which attacks Microsoft operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10, was previously seeded and time-activated.

"It seems the virus is spreading all over Europe and I'm afraid it can harm the whole world", he said. But earlier Wednesday, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union's Tasmania secretary John Short said the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania had stopped production after computers there crashed.

A new, highly virulent strain of malicious software that is crippling computers globally appears to have been sown in Ukraine, where it badly hobbled much of the government and private sector on the eve of a holiday celebrating a post-Soviet constitution.

Hospitals, government offices and major multinationals were among the casualties of the ransomware payload, which locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release.

In the United States, it affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and food conglomerate Mondelez International.