A “powerful” cyberattack that started in Ukraine has spread across the world, hitting banks, government IT systems and energy firms.
British advertising group WPP said its computer networks in several locations had been targeted.
Russian, Indian and Dutch firms were also among those hit, after Ukraine declared it had been struck by the biggest cyberattack in its history.
The country’s interior ministry said the hack was a modified version of the ‘Wannacry’ virus – a type of ransomware that crippled NHS computer systems in May.
Costin Raiu, head of global research at Kaspersky Lab, the world’s biggest cybersecurity analysis firm, identified the virus as ‘Petrwrap’.
Image: British advertising agency was hit by the virus
Ukraine’s security council secretary said an hour after the news broke: “It is possible to talk of Russian fingerprints.”
So far, companies in the following countries have been affected:
:: UK – WPP:: US – DLA Piper:: Ukraine – Central bank, energy firms and aircraft manufacturer:: Russia – Evraz, Rosneft:: Denmark – Maersk:: Norway – Unnamed “international company”:: The Netherlands – APM Terminals
Ukranian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko posted a picture of his computer screen, which warned it was experiencing “errors”.
The country’s central bank claimed an “unknown virus” had hit lenders, but did not name those affected.
It said in a statement: “As a result of these cyber attacks these banks are having difficulties with client services and carrying out banking operations.
“The central bank is confident that the banking infrastructure’s defence against cyber fraud is properly set up and attempted cyber attacks on banks’ IT systems will be neutralised.”
Kiev Airport and Ukraine’s state postal and telecommunications agencies have also been hit.
Russian oil producer Rosneft, which was targeted, said it hoped the incident was not connected to “legal proceedings”, as it prepares to sue a rival firm over the acquisition of another energy company for 170 billion rubles (£2.25 billion).
It “could have had serious consequences”, the company said, but thanks to a back-up system “the production and extraction of oil were not stopped”.
The disruptions follow a spate of hacking attempts on Ukrainian state websites in late-2016 and repeated attacks on the country’s power grid that prompted security chiefs to call for improved cyber defences.