99 countries have been the target of a ransomware cyber attack on Friday, seriously affecting the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K (infections at 16 medical institutions), some communications companies in Spain and several educational institutions in Italy. Overall, the so-called “WannaCry” ransomware attack has affected tens of thousand of computers, including Romania, USA, UK, China, Russia or Taiwan.
IT security experts say the attacks have been correlated and called it the largest ransomware attack in the history. Hackers have asked for money to give back the stolen information.
According to securelist.com and Kaspersky Lab, Romania ranks ninth in the top of the most affected countries by “WannaCry”, after Russia, Ukraine, India, Taiwan, Tajikistan , Kazakhstan, Luxembourg and China.
Coincidence or not, the entire Renault group has been affected by it, including in Romania. Sources told Digi24 that Dacia-Mioveni plant has been affected.
Thousands of employees of the Mioveni factory were sent home on Saturday due to an error of the IT system. The system failed on Friday night to Saturday, blocking the activity of several robotic sections in the factory. Therefore, thousands of employees who were to enter the morning shift were sent home.
However, Communication minister Augustin Jianu could not confirm that Dacia Mioveni has been affected by the “WannaCry” ransomware. He told Digi24 that the state has no centralization of the situations of this kind, and the companies are not compelled to report them.
He said he hadn’t spoken yet to the Dacia officials on this topic, while refusing to disclose if he had talked to other companies. The minister also said that the allegation that it is the largest cyber attack in the history is “exaggerated” and is the result of the mass media’s appetite for sensationalism.
In his view, the solution to counter such attacks is to implement proper laws.
More than 75,000 attacks in 99 countries
Cybersecurity firm Avast said it tracked more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries on Friday.
The ransomware has spread quickly all over the world, causing crises in National Health Service hospitals and facilities around England, and gaining particular traction in Spain, where it has hobbled the large telecom company Telefonica, the natural gas company Gas Natural, and the electrical company Iberdrola.
Foreign news agencies reported that the attack has also affectedaround 1,000 computers of the Russian Interior Ministry, as well as Deutsche Bahn, the largest transport company in Germany.
The ransomware strain WannaCry (also known as WanaCrypt0r and WCry) that caused Friday’s barrage appears to be a new variant of a type that first appeared in late March. This new version has only gained steam since its initial barrage, with tens of thousands of infections so far.
“The spread is immense,” says Adam Kujawa, the director of malware intelligence at Malwarebytes, which discovered the original version of WannaCry. “I’ve never seen anything before like this. This is nuts,” he added, as quoted by wired.com.
WannaCry locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer’s administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools.