BREAKING: Massive Ransomware Attack Spreading Across The Globe

Many news sites including Motherboard are reporting that a massive ransomware attack is underway. Computers in Spain, France, Ukraine, Russia, and other countries have apparently been hit by this:

The attacks bear some resemblance to the recent WannaCry outbreak, in which thousands of computer systems were locked down with ransomware around the world.

Motherboard has seen several reports of infections shared by victims on Twitter. We were not able to immediately confirm the veracity of the reports, but several security researchers and firms also reported the attacks.

“We are seeing several thousands of infection attempts at the moment, comparable in size to Wannacry’s first hours,” Costin Raiu, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, told Motherboard in an online chat.

Judging by photos posted to Twitter and images provided by sources, many of the alleged attacks involved a piece of ransomware that displays red text on a black background, and demands $300 worth of bitcoin.

“If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible, because they are encrypted,” the text reads, according to one of the photos. “Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service.”

I suspect that this will be a very long day for IT admins in various places around the world. And we shouldn’t be shocked that this is happening as it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. The question is, how bad can this get?

Watch this space for updates as they come.

UPDATE: The ransomware in question is called Petya. Many security experts are theorizing that it is spreading so fast because it is leveraging the same NSA supplied attack vector that the last epic cyberattack used. Thus a fully patched Windows system should be able to be resistant to this ransomware.

UPDATE #2: McAfee’s Gary Davis has written a blog with three tips for consumers to keep their systems secure from ransomware attacks such as Petya.

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