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27 Jun, 2017 12:59

Ukraine govt, banks & airports hit by mass ransomware attack

Ukraine govt, banks & airports hit by mass ransomware attack

Ukraine has been affected by massive cyberattacks targeting the country's government, banks and companies, as well as the capital's airports. Cybersecurity specialists say the attack was the same virus that hit Russian oil company Rosneft.

"Our network seems to be down, too, in case you wondered! This picture is on all of the Cabinet computer screens," the country's vice prime minister, Pavel Rozenko, posted on Facebook, along with a picture of a computer starting up after an apparent error.

"Computers aren't functioning in the government building," the Kiev authorities told Interfax-Ukraine news agency. Security forces said that the intelligence services are looking into the cyberattacks.

A blackmail encryption virus was used in the attack. Screenshots of affected computers posted online show screens demanding $300 worth of bitcoin as ransom for the encrypted data.

Banks and other financial institutions have been warned about the attack, the Ukrainian National Bank said.

Borispol and Kiev airports have suffered damage to their local computer networks, and the arrival and departure displays on the Borispol website are offline. Air navigation systems are working without delays, however, and planes are arriving and departing on time, airport officials said.

Aircraft maker Antonov has confirmed it was also hit, although a company spokesman did not specify the extent of the damage, Reuters reports.

READ MORE: Ukraine cyberattacks disrupt some Chernobyl radiation checks

The Ukrainian prime minister said no "important systems" have been affected. "It was an unprecedented attack, but our IT experts are doing their work and protecting strategic infrastructure," Vladimir Groysman posted on Facebook.

The head of Ukraine national energy company Ukrenergo said the hack poses "no real threats" to the country's energy systems, though he admitted that his employees would not be showing “record productivity,”“except IT specialists, who have a sleepless night ahead of them.”

The hacks haven't affected the Ukrainian energy system, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry reported.

Specialists are now looking into the hacking attacks, as well as the level of threat.

The CEO of TV and radio company Lux has said that Channel 24 has been hit by the attack, with part of its computer equipment affected.

READ MORE: Major global companies hit by cyber attacks

Experts from the Moscow-based cybersecurity company Group-IB believe that the same cryptovirus, ‘Petya,’ was used for both the attacks on the Ukrainian companies and facilities and the latest hacks on the Russian companies Rosneft and Bashneft, Interfax reports.

Some 80 companies in Russia and Ukraine have been hit by the attack, according to Group-IB cited by Russian media. Companies such as Mars, Nivea and Auchan are currently affected by the virus.

Despite Russian companies also being hit, Ukrainian security officials were quick to point the finger at Moscow.

"Already on first analysis of the virus it is possible to talk of Russian fingerprints," the National Security and Defense Council quoted Secretary Aleksandr Turchinov as saying.

Last month, WannaCry malware infected over 200,000 computers. The virus demanded a ransom from users in exchange for not having their data destroyed.