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Cyberattacks Hit Major Companies Across Globe

Posted by hkarner - 27. Juni 2017

Date: 27-06-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Maersk, WPP Group and Rosneft all report significant intrusions on their computer systems

Maersk BV shipping containers sit stacked on a cargo vessel docked at the a shipping terminal in Michaocan, Mexico in April.

Global businesses from Europe to the U.S., including shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, advertising firm WPP Group PLC and Russian oil company PAO Rosneft, reported significant cyberattacks Tuesday against their computer systems.

It was unclear how, or if, the attacks were related, but they spread simultaneously across Europe and into the U.S. on the heels of a global attack in May from a virus dubbed WannaCry.

Ukraine was hit by an “unprecedented” wave of cyberattacks Tuesday, the country’s prime minister said, which infected a government ministry, state telecoms, postal and transport companies, among others.Russia’s state-controlled oil company, PAO Rosneft, said it was under a “massive hacker attack” that could have serious consequences but said its oil production hadn’t been affected.

Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly listed oil company by production, said it had contacted law-enforcement authorities about the attack. The company’s website was down on Tuesday, but its official Twitter accounts spread news of the attack.

The company said it had recently switched to a different oil reserve-control system, so “neither oil production nor preparation processes were stopped.”

Denmark’s shipping giant Maersk said Tuesday that its computer systems had been brought down by a cyberattack. The breakdown is affecting multiple computer systems across several business units, a Maersk spokeswoman said, adding the company was assessing the situation.

The spokeswoman said she couldn’t provide details on how the computer outage was affecting the company’s flagship business, Maersk Line, the world’s largest container operator by capacity.

Attempts to connect to the Maersk Line web site yielded the following message: “Oh no, our website is down!

A person with knowledge of the situation said more than a dozen terminals at APM Terminals, Maerk’s port operating unit, had been affected around the world. Those included Rotterdam and ports on the U.S. East coast

The Port Authority of New York and Jersey sent out alerts Tuesday morning that said the APM Terminals facility in Elizabeth, N.J., “is experiencing system issues” and advising carriers to delay arrival until further notice.

Maersk’s crucial role in the global supply chain makes whatever ultimately happen with its own handling of the attack crucial for much of the rest of the world. Because of the ballet-like logistics required to slot ships into ports and unload them efficiently, speed in sorting out any computer malfunction is critical.

Lars Jensen, chief executive of CyberKeel, a Copenhagen advisory firm in maritime cyber security, said if Maersk manages to do this soon—in a matter of hours—operations could return to normal without major problems.

“The longer it drags on the more the entire logistics chain will be disrupted,” Mr Jensen said. “The ships can be operated manually but if you don’t have access to your operational and commercial databases you won’t know where your containers are.”

WPP, the London based advertising conglomerate, said its I.T. systems across several companies were affected by a “suspected cyber attack.”

“We are taking appropriate measures [and] will update asap,” the advertising company said in a tweet.

WPP employees at its various agencies and businesses across the group were instructed not to log into the network and shut down their computers after the issue was discovered, according to several people within the company.

A spokesman for Mondelez International Inc., a New Jersey-based global food maker, said the company’s network is experiencing a global IT outage and that they were investigating the causes. “Our global special situation management team is in place, and they are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” he said in a statement, adding that the company’s email servers were down.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said that important systems had not been damaged and that IT experts were working to address the issue.

The virus, called “Petya,” encrypted data on computer systems and demanded payment to unlock them, the government said. The Infrastructure Ministry, telecoms company Ukrtelecom, state postal service Ukrposhta and several banking institutions were infected, the government said. Energy generation and supply companies were also hit, along with private businesses, the Security Service of Ukraine said.

The attacks used a version of the WannaCry virus, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said. The virus was delivered over the last several days via emails written in Russian and Ukrainian that were disguised as regular business correspondence, the adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, wrote on his Facebook page.

Ukraine has faced a string of cyberattacks in recent years that have targeted official websites, government communications and critical infrastructure, including energy grids. Ukrainian officials have blamed those attacks on Russia, which is supporting separatists in a conflict in Ukraine’s east. Russia denies state hacking.

The Wannacry malware in May inflicted most of its damage on European businesses and institutions. It locked computer systems that were old or weren’t adequately patched, demanding ransom. The attack hit hospitals in the U.K., car factories in France and smaller businesses across the continent.

 

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