Another Massive Ransomware Attack Spreads Around the World

Be careful what you click on.

Petya

The Petya ransomware in actionDS-Tech/YouTube

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

A month after the WannaCry ransomware hobbled hundreds of thousands of computers around the world, another major ransomware attack is making its way across Europe, Russia, the United States, and elsewhere—locking the victims’ computers and demanding ransom payments.

“We are talking about a cyberattack,” Anders Rosendahl, a spokesman for A.P. Moller-Maersk, a massive Danish shipping company, told the Associated Press after the firm was hit by the malicious software. “It has affected all branches of our business, at home and abroad.” 

According to cybersecurity firm Symantec, the attack makes use of the “EternalBlue” exploit developed by the National Security Agency called to take advantage of a flaw in the Microsoft Windows operating system. (Microsoft recently released a patch intended to address this flaw.) That exploit made its way into the wild after a group calling itself The Shadow Brokers dumped what it said was a suite of NSA hacking tools on the internet in April. The Shadow Brokers first came on the scene in August 2016 when they claimed to have hacked a server containing a host of tools used by the Equation Group, a hacking group thought to be associated with the NSA.

Initial reports dubbed the attack “Petya,” a version of previously detected malware, but information security firm Kaspersky Lab said Tuesday’s attack was something “that has not been seen before,” according to Patrick O’Neill of Cyberscoop.

Whoever was behind Tuesday’s wave of ransomware apparently demanded $300 worth of Bitcoin to unlock the affected computers. “If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible because they have been encrypted,” the attackers wrote in a message posted on a victim’s computer screens. “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.”

As of about 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, 24 payments had been made to the address listed by the hackers, totaling about $6,000.

Merck, a US-based pharmaceutical company, said Tuesday that its computer network was also damaged “as part of the global hack” and that the company was investigating the matter. DLA Piper, a US-based global law firm, had its phones and computers affected by the bug. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant also reportedly switched to manual radiation monitoring because of the attack. Rosneft, a massive Russian energy company, said it had been impacted, as well.

WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

payment methods

WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate