U.K. blames Russia for crippling cyberattack

The British government says that Russia was behind a massive global cyberattack that hit major companies in June 2017.

Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad said in an announcement on Thursday that the Russian military was in charge of the assault, which at first targeted computers in Ukraine however rapidly spread past its borders.

The assault – called NotPetya – hit organizations including British advertising group WPP (WPP), Oreo producer Mondelez (MDLZ), U.S. drugmaker Merck (MRK) and worldwide shipping company FedEx (FDX).

“The destructive attack masqueraded as ransomware, but its purpose was principally to disrupt,” the U.K. government said in an announcement.

“The decision to publicly attribute this incident reiterates the position of the U.K. and its allies that malicious cyber activity will not be tolerated,” it included.

The White House called the cyber-attack “reckless and indiscriminate.”

“It was part of the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to destabilize Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an announcement. “This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber-attack that will be met with international consequences.”

The Russian government said it “categorically denied the accusations.”

“We think they have no basis and no foundation, and this is nothing else but the continuation of the Russophobic campaign,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters.

The ransomware infected computers and locked down their hard drives. It would then request a $300 payment to be paid in bitcoin.

Be that as it may, regardless of whether victims paid, they didn’t recover access to their files.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre, which investigated the assault, said it exhibited a “high level of planning, research and technical capability.”

It said the ransomware was embedded into a legitimate a piece of software used by a large portion of Ukraine’s financial and government institutions.

Ahmad said the assault had disturbed organizations across Europe, costing them hundreds of millions of pounds.

Reckitt Benckiser (RBGLY), the British creator of Lysol, Mucinex and Clearasil, said the assault negatively affected its second quarter sales.

In September, FedEx ascribed a $300 million loss to the assault. The organization’s subsidiary, TNT Express, was compelled to suspend business.

Mondelez said shipment delays resulting because of the assault made its second quarter income drop 2.7%.

 

Source: Ivana Kottasová | CNN Tech