Check out the list of companies hit by global ransomware attack

Hackers strike across Europe, sparking widespread disruption

A new and highly virulent outbreak of data-scrambling software - apparently sown in Ukraine - caused disruption across the world Tuesday.

Another major global Cyber attack on Tuesday.

The ransomware - as is the wont of this category of malware - is encrypting the hard drives of infected computers and demanding $300 in return for the drive to be decrypted.

It's not yet clear if companies in the Asia-Pacific region have been seriously affected.

The malware's origins remain unclear. WannaCry was the first time researchers saw a large-scale ransomware that could worm its way through networks.

A new "Petya" ransomware attack has hit the globe, affecting several corporations, airports and government departments.

In Austria, two global companies with seats in Vienna have been affected by this week's attack, a spokesman of the federal criminal police agency said on Wednesday.

The ransomware attack has surfaced only one month since the notorious WannaCry ransomware which infected computers in over 150 countries.

The BBC is reporting that even the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been hit, with staff being forced to monitor radiation levels manually after the computers that run the plant's sensors were impacted.

Hackers strike across Europe, sparking widespread disruption

Multinational companies, including the global law firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk were also affected, although the firms didn't specify the extent of the damage.

The Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab said its analysis showed that there had been about 2000 attacks - most in Ukraine, Russia and Poland. There are now reports of attacks in the US. Its victims also include hospitals in Pennsylvania's Heritage Valley Health System.

One of the three terminals is now at a standstill because the computer systems were disabled.

Following last month's attack, governments, security firms and industrial groups aggressively advised businesses and consumers to make sure all their computers were updated with Microsoft patches to defend against the threat. Such attacks are not just limited to large companies, but can also affect individuals. "It's like WannaCry all over again", said F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen.

"Once activated, the virus can automatically and freely distribute itself on your network", Ukraine's cyberpolice tweeted. "It's like somebody sneezing into a train full of people", he said.

Security researchers said the new "Petya" cyberattack sweeping around the world might be worse than the WannaCry attack in May, and it might be harder to stop. It has multiple ways it can spread within a computer network.

"We are investigating the matter and will provide additional information as we learn more". In a telephone interview, Bitdefender analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that he had examined samples of the program and that it appeared to be almost identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage-taking programs that has been circulating for months. It demanded $300 in Bitcoin.

Computer specialists said the ransomware was very similar to a virus that emerged a year ago called Petya. In a lengthy statement posted to Facebook, MEDoc acknowledged having been hacked. There is no known official name for the current malware. It is reported that the German independent email provider Posteo blocked an email address associated with the blackmail attempt.

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