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Chernobyl monitoring system hit by global cyber attack

28 June 2017

"We can confirm that Maersk IT systems are down across multiple sites and business units".

Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co said its computer network had been affected by the global hack.

The source of the attacks was not immediately clear. Both asked victims to pay Bitcoin to get their files back, and both use a similar flaw to spread through networks.

A wave of cyberattacks hit Russian Federation and Ukraine before spreading to western Europe and North America on Tuesday, in the second global outbreak of so-called ransomware in less than two months.

Whoever was behind Tuesday's wave of ransomware apparently demanded $300 worth of Bitcoin to unlock the affected computers.

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. Yet an analyst from Kaspersky Lab told NPR that the outbreak is coming from a "new ransomware we haven't seen before". (Microsoft recently released a patch meant to address this flaw.) That exploit made its way into the wild after a group calling itself The Shadow Brokers dumped what it said was a suite of NSA hacking tools on the internet in April.

According to Symantec researchers, this version of Petya now takes advantage of the NSA's EternalBlue exploits, which have already been patched by Microsoft. The United States was investigating the attack and determined to hold those responsible accountable, it said.

It included code known as "Eternal Blue", which cyber security experts widely believe was stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and was also used in last month's ransomware attack, named "WannaCry".

"We stand ready to support any requests for assistance", officials said in a statement. In Russia, the malware hit companies such as Mars, Nivea and Mondelez International, according to the Tass news agency.

Ukraine's central bank warned financial firms across the country that an unknown virus hit the sector, creating problems for banks and customer service. Kiev's metro system, as well as the worldwide Boryspil airport have already stopped accepting card payments because of the attack.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko on June 27 posted a picture of a darkened computer screen to Twitter, saying that the computer system at the government's headquarters has been shut down.

APM Terminals, owned by Maersk, are experiencing system issues at multiple terminals, including the Port of NY and New Jersey, the largest port on the U.S. East Coast, and Rotterdam in The Netherlands, Europe's largest harbor. In a statement, it said that "in connection with the cyber attack, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant website is not working".

The radiation monitoring system at the ruins of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, site of a catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, was affected by the cyberattack, the French news agency AFP reported.

Chernobyl monitoring system hit by global cyber attack