Hackers launched a series of damaging cyberattacks on Friday that hit dozens of countries worldwide using malicious software stolen from the National Security Agency, which is transmitted via email. Computer experts are calling the latest virus Petya. “Like the WannaCry attacks in May, the hack on Tuesday may result in demands for a digital ransom payment before the owners can regain control, reports The New York Times.
“The attacks amounted to an audacious global blackmail attempt spread by the internet and underscored the vulnerabilities of the digital age,” notes The Times.
As news of the attack spread, the Ukrainian government announced that several of its ministries and metro systems, as well as those systems monitoring radiation at the Chernobyl nuclear facility, had been affected. The Danish shipping giant Maersk, the Russian energy giant, Rosneft, and WPP, the British advertising agency were also reportedly targeted.
In the United States, the pharmaceutical giant Merck confirmed that its computer networks had also been hit, the first case in the US.