Ransomware attacks are happening quite often now that many businessmen and even world leaders are worried about its disastrous consequences to society. Cyber criminals are becoming more brazen in carrying out these attacks and the latest string of attacks not only annoyed individual computer users but attacked various servers throughout the world making the discomfort and disruption felt on a global scale.
From its humble beginnings in Ukraine, a new cyber malware spread across the globe just recently and infected computers from different corners of the world. From a simple download of a famous tax accounting package or a peek at a local news website, this web virus stealthily infected Ukranian computers before going farther. And similar to the WannaCry attack, this new bug demanded a $300 ransom in bitcoins forcing 30 unfortunate victims to shell out the money in the hopes of getting their data back.
A ransomware attack hit computers across the world on Tuesday, taking out servers at Russia's biggest oil company, disrupting operations at Ukrainian banks, and shutting down computers at multinational shipping and advertising firms.
Cyber security experts said those behind the attack appeared to have exploited the same type of hacking tool used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May before a British researcher created a kill-switch.
“It's like WannaCry all over again,” said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer with Helsinki-based cyber security firm F-Secure.
He said he expected the outbreak to spread in the Americas as workers turned on vulnerable machines, allowing the virus to attack. “This could hit the U.S.A. pretty bad,” he said.
Cyber attacks like this one are becoming a common occurrence as cyber criminals become more adept in breaking down defensive barriers of most computers. It’s even worse when computer servers are hit because of the possible extent of the damage. Knowing how globally interconnected everyone in the globe is right now, it is no longer surprising for a simple cyber attack like this to go global in just a few hours.
Ukrainian police on Tuesday seized the servers of an accounting software firm suspected of spreading a malware virus which crippled computer systems at major companies around the world last week, a senior police official said.
The head of Ukraine's Cyber Police, Serhiy Demedyuk, told Reuters the servers of M.E.Doc - Ukraine's most popular accounting software - had been seized as part of an investigation into the attack.
Though they are still trying to establish who was behind last week's attack, Ukrainian intelligence officials and security firms have said some of the initial infections were spread via a malicious update issued by M.E.Doc, charges the company's owners deny.
The owners were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
Premium Service, which says it is an official dealer of M.E.Doc's software, wrote a post on M.E.Doc's Facebook page saying masked men were searching M.E.Doc's offices and that the software firm's servers and services were down.
Following the said attack that originated in Ukraine, the police now have in custody the servers of the alleged accounting software firm that facilitated the spread of the malware and are currently being investigated considering how disastrous this attack has been. Police Intel says that pro hackers have already been planning the attack for months and were the ones who introduced the vulnerability into the firm’s program. In an effort to help affected individuals or organizations cope with this disaster, the Ukranian government extended its tax deadline so the victims have more time to prepare the necessary documents they just lost.
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