Europol: Scale of Friday’s global cyber attack unprecedented

KONFRONTASI-Europol has warned that a "complex international investigation" is required to identify the “culprits” behind the recent "unprecedented" cyber-attack which targeted a multitude of worldwide organizations.

On Friday, at least 75,000 computer systems in 99 countries across the globe were targeted in a data encryption attack, in which a malicious software known as ransomware locked up computers and demanded a payment in Bitcoin to restore access.

Several European countries, including Russia, were among the worst hit in the attack.

On Saturday, Europe's police agency announced that its cyber-crime unit, EC3, was cooperating closely with the worst affected countries to "mitigate the threat and assist victims."

In the UK, some 48 public health organizations were affected by the attack, which left doctors and hospitals incapable of accessing patient data, which resulted in the cancellation of a large number of appointments.

Meanwhile, the head of France’s anti-Cybercrime Office, Valerie Maldonado, has stressed that the number of attacked systems will rise over the next few days.

"This is a provisional figure of the number of infected computers and could rise significantly over the coming days," she said.

Also on Saturday, Russia’s railway company announced that despite being hit heavily by the attack, its transport systems were not disrupted.

Map shows countries affected in the first few hours of the cyber attack according to Kaspersky Lab research.

“The IT system of Russian Railways has been attacked by a virus. The virus has been isolated. The work to eliminate it and upgrade anti-virus protection is currently underway,” they said in an official statement.

Russia’s cybersecurity monitoring center, FinCert, operated by the country’s central bank, also announced that the attack had not penetrated its systems.

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, also released a statement confirming that its computers and databases had not been affected in the attack. “The cybersecurity systems have discovered attempts to infect the bank infrastructure in due course. The bank network is protected from such attack. No virus infection happened,” it said.[mr/ptv]