Mumbai/Moscow/Kiev/Washington: About a month after 'WannaCry' left millions crying, another virus attack on Tuesday disrupted normal operations across the Globe. Latest reports said Russia, Ukraine and other parts in Europe are worst hit while Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) too was reported to be struggling.
A major global cyber-attack on Tuesday disrupted computers at Russia's biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms with a virus similar to the ransomware that last month infected more than 300,000 computers, according to Reuters.
Following a similar attack in May , the fresh cyber-assault paralysed some hospitals, government offices and major multinational corporations in a dramatic demonstration of how easily malicious programs can bring daily life to a halt, Associated Press reported.
Ukraine and Russia appeared hardest hit by the new strain of ransomware — malicious software that locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release.
In the United States, the malware affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco.
The ransomware virus crippled computers running Microsoft Corp's Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demanded $300 in bitcoin payments to restore access. More than 30 victims paid into the bitcoin account associated with the attack, according to a public ledger of transactions listed on blockchain.info.
Microsoft said the virus could spread through a flaw that was patched in a security update in March.
"We are continuing to investigate and will take appropriate action to protect customers," a spokesman for the company said, adding that Microsoft antivirus software detects and removes it.
Researchers said the attack may have borrowed malware code used in earlier ransomware campaigns known as "Petya" and "GoldenEye."
Operations at one of the three terminals of the nation's largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) were impacted on Tuesday night as a fallout of the global ransomware attack, which crippled some central banks and many large corporations in Europe.
AP Moller-Maersk, one of the affected entities globally, operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.
"We have been informed that the operations at GTI have come to a standstill because their systems are down (due to the malware attack). They are trying to work manually," a senior JNPT official told PTI.
The official explained that JNPT is trying to help the company, but there is little that others can do as the problem is with the systems.
The motives of those behind the malware remain unknown. Ukraine has been a persistent target of pro-Russian hackers, who are blamed for twice shutting down large swaths of its power grid in the dead of winter and sabotaging its elections system in a bid to disrupt May 2014 national elections.
Emails sent Tuesday to an address posted to the bottom of ransom demands went unreturned. That might be because the email provider hosting that address, Berlin-based Posteo, pulled the plug on the account before the infection became widely known.
In an email, a Posteo representative said it had blocked the email address “immediately” after learning that it was associated with ransomware. The company added that it was in contact with German authorities “to make sure that we react properly.”