New cyberattack causes mass disruption globally

A Swiss government agency also reported computer systems were affected in India, though the country's cyber security agency said it had yet to receive any reports of attacks.

"Most of our IT systems are down across all business units due to a virus". While there are reports of individual USA companies being hit, infections appear more prevalent in Europe.

In what seems to be a rerun of the global cybarattack perpetrated by the WannaCry ransomware - and this time with worse consequences - several countries across the world are said to have been affected by a new malware nicknamed Petya or PetrWrap. It is not yet clear who is behind the attack, which appears to be burgeoning.

GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre noted it is leeping a close eye to the spread of Petya: "We are aware of a global ransomware incident and are monitoring the situation closely".

A Ukranian media company said its computer systems had been blocked and were displaying messages demanding $300 in crypto-currency Bitcoin in exchange for access.

There are also reports that a ransomware called "Petya" is ravaging a number of countries throughout Europe, but it's as of now unclear if the "unknown virus" reported to be affecting the Ukrainian and Russian companies is the same one. But according to security firm Kaspersky Lab, preliminary findings indicate the attacks are from a new ransomware which it's calling "NotPetya". While not a lot is known about the technical details of Petya, security firms Avira and Payload Security have claimed it uses the same EternalBlue exploit that was found in WannaCry, and which Microsoft had issued a fix for months ago. Microsoft provides a guide for doing just that.

For advice from the Department of Homeland Security on how to avoid ransomware attacks, go here.

Any requests for help from DHS are confidential, McConnell says.

He refused to confirm if any country had requested U.S. assistance so far, saying that any request of that kind would be confidential in any case.

A union official said production at the Tasmanian-based facility was halted at 9.30pm on Tuesday in what was described as a "cyber attack".

A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across the world, hitting companies and governments in Europe especially hard. It appears to have originated in Ukraine, where the power grid, airport, national bank and communications firms all experienced problems early Tuesday morning.

Reports said the Kiev metro system stopped accepting payment cards while several chains of petrol stations suspended operations.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko posted a picture of a darkened computer screen to Twitter, saying that the computer system at the government's headquarters has been shut down.

The virus even hit systems monitoring radiation at the site of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where computers running Windows were temporarily knocked offline.

Ransomware victims are always advised not to pay the ransom to get their files back, and in this case, it would be futile.

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