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New ransomware cyber attack hits major European companies, India may be at risk

By PTI
|

Mumbai, Jun 27: A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard.

Operations at one of the three terminals of the nation's largest container port JNPT were impacted tonight as a fallout of the global ransomware attack, which crippled some central banks and many large corporations in Europe.

Image for representation only

AP Moller-Maersk, one of the affected entities globally, operates the Gateway Terminals India at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.

"We have been informed that the operations at GTI have come to a standstill because their systems are down (due to the malware attack). They are trying to work manually," a senior JNPT official told PTI.

The official explained that JNPT is trying to help the company, but there is little that others can do as the problem is with the systems.

Fearing some clogging up of cargo, additional parking space is being made available, the official said, promising to help in any way that is possible.

The Hague-based APM Terminals also operates the Pipavav terminal in Gujarat.

Foreign media reports from the Netherlands capital The Hague quoting the pubcaster RTV Rijnmond said a new ransomware virus called Petya has hit 17 APM terminals, including two in Rotterdam and 15 in other parts of the world.

APM Terminals is a subsidiary of shipping giant Maersk, which has confirmed it is suffering from a cyber attack.

When contacted, an APM spokesperson refused to comment on the India impact of the attack. However, India's cyber security agency chief, Sanjay Bahl, says there is no report of the ransomware hitting the country.

"We can confirm that Maersk's IT systems are down across multiple geographies and business units due to a cyber-attack. We continue to assess the situation.

The safety of our employees, our operation and our customers businesses is our top priority. We will update when we have more information," the spokesperson said in a written statement issued globally.

The current attacks come weeks after the Wannacry ransomware attack, which impacted systems of many companies.

Companies that affected on Tuesday include Russia's biggest oil company Rosneft, global advertising giant WPP Group and multiple institutions in Ukraine including its central bank and an international airport.

An AFP report quoting the Ukrainian central bank said a cyberattack hit several lenders in the ex-Soviet republic, hindering operations and leading the regulator to warn other financial institutions to tighten security measures.

The Moscow-based cyber security firm Group IB traced the origins of the malware and the hackers to a code developed by the US National Security Agency which was leaked and then used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that caused global disruption last month, according to an AFP report.

The global wire quoted a Ukrainian media company, which was hit, as saying its computers were blocked and it had received a demand for USD300 worth of the Bitcoin crypto- currency to restore access to its files.

PTI

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