UARU
What You Need To Know About Ukraine’s Largest Cyberattack
28 June, 2017
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Photo: EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

A ransomware virus has attacked almost a hundred Ukrainian companies, banks, and government institutions.

On 28 June, the day after the attack began, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers announced that cyber security specialists have managed to stop and control the attack. They are currently working on restoring lost data.

WHO ARE THE ATTACKERS?

The Petya virus blocks computers by exploiting weaknesses in the Windows operating systems. The ransomware then demands a bitcoin payment equivalent to $300. Failure to pay after seven days results in the virus deleting files from the infected computer.

It is still unknown who the attacker may be. Neither the Ukrainian Security Services nor the Cyber Police has said who could possibly be behind the attack.

WHO HAVE THEY ATTACKED?

The virus attacked the websites of Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers, as well as those of state-owned bank ‘Oschadbank’, the ‘Nova Poshta’ delivery service, the energy company ‘Kyivenergo’ which supplies energy to most of the capital city, and mobile network ‘Kyivstar’.

Payment systems were also down at a number of banks, retail chains, and insurance companies, and the virus also struck Ministry of Infrastructure’s system.

Normal service for some of companies and organisations was disrupted as a result of the ransomware attack, including Kyiv’s Boryspil airport, which warned passengers of possible flight delays when the information board stopped working. The Kyiv metro also experienced difficulties as card payments were down.

IS UKRAINE THE ONLY TARGET?

In addition to the numerous Ukrainian victims of the cyberattack, the virus also spread to computers in the UK, India, and Russia, most notably the Russian oil company, ‘Rosneft’.

IS THIS UKRAINE’S FIRST MAJOR HACKER ATTACK?

This is not the first time hackers have targeted Ukraine. The Petya virus is similar to the WannaCry ransomware that attacked around 50,000 computers worldwide on May 12, 2017. Ukraine was one of the countries most affected by this attack.

Ukraine also experienced a cyberattack in December 2016, which affected the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Infrastructure, commercial banks, and energy company, ‘Ukrenergo’. The results of this attack have not been published; however, a source from the Ukrainian Security Service’s department for protection of state interests in the field of cybersecurity told Hromadske in May that they think the attack was guided directly from Russia and that another attack was likely to happen again in 2017.

/By Sofia Fedeczko