Computer virus shakes up European enterprises
A massive hacker attack disrupted Europe, threating entrepreneurs all across the continent and causing trouble for many businesses. A ransomware Petya virus spread through IT networks like wildfire, freezing computers and demanding a 300-bitcoin payment from those wishing to regain access to their files. The attack started in Ukraine and that was the country where it caused most damage. Some Polish enterprises also fell victim to the malicious software.
The virus attacked Ukrainian banking system, Kiev airport, heat and power plants, or even some government institutions. Soon, Petya spread to other Eastern and Central European countries and further to the West, attacking numerous entities in such countries as Denmark, France, Spain, UK and the Netherlands. Some of the biggest global corporations were struck by the malware attack, namely Maersk, Rosneft and WPP. Their computers were blocked and they could not operate as normal.
Poland was also affected by the attack. Several big companies seated in Poland, such as Raben, TNT, Mondelēz International and Inter Cars, admitted their operations were halted by the malware. Prime Minister Beata Szydło decided to convene a Government Centre for Security meeting to discuss the attack and its aftermath with experts. It was attended by Minister of the Interior and Administration Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of Digital Affairs Anna Streżyńska and Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz. Officials decided not to increase the current alert state.
Soon, malware experts announced the attack was not in fact about financial gains (i.e. ransom) but simply wiping data and causing chaos. It can be said with great probability that the attacked companies were never to receive their data back, even upon paying the hackers. Ukrainian authorities announced the virus attack had most likely been launched by Russian special services. Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council decided to increase the state’s anti-terrorist alert level.
Kaspersky Lab, a leading anti-virus software developer, announced that Poland was the third biggest victim of the cyberattack. Companies with offices or branches in Ukraine and doing business with entities from that country were the ones who took the biggest blow.