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Ransomware Rears Its Head Again As 150 Countries Hit By New Virus

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Ransomware Rears Its Head Again As 150 Countries Hit By New Virus

Ransomware cyberattacks broke out Tuesday from the United States to India to Russia, where computer systems monitoring radiation at the site of the former Chernobyl nuclear plant were knocked offline.

The attacks affected roughly 150 countries, including government offices and infrastructure in the Ukraine, the Russian oil company Rosneft, the British marketing multinational WPP and an “international company” in Norway, the Washington Post reported.

Demands for ransom paid in Bitcoin to free encrypted data were reminiscent of a similar outbreak that spread globally in May.

The newspaper said computer systems monitoring radiation at Chernobyl, the site of a catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, were knocked offline.

First Reports Originated In Ukraine

The Post said the situation was worst in Ukraine, where computer systems were targeted at ministries, banks, utilities and private companies, accompanied by demands for ransoms.

"It's like WannaCry all over again," Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer with Helsinki, Finland-based cybersecurity firm F-Secure, told Reuters, referring to the name of the May ransomware virus. "This could hit the U.S.A. pretty bad."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring reports and coordinating with other nations.

The attacks moved westward after originating in Russia and Ukraine and had gone global in hours.

Reuters reported that Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, which handles one out of seven containers shipped globally, said the attack caused outages at its computer systems across the world Tuesday, including a terminal in Los Angeles.

The news agency said pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) said its computer network had been affected by the global hack.

Related links:

Blame Game: Definitive Guide To Who’s At Fault For Ransomware Attack

European Banks Driving Bitcoin Boom As Brace Against Ransomware Attacks

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