Microsoft says the Petya ransomware attack spreading through computers in North America and Europe has now reached 65 countries.
Members of the company’s security team said in a blog post more than 12,500 machines were hit in Ukraine alone. Microsoft believes the attack started with a company that makes tax accounting software.
The maker of the Windows operating system says its researchers have proof some of the infections started through the process used to update software from M.E. Doc, the Ukrainian developer.
“Given this new ransomware’s added lateral movement capabilities it only takes a single infected machine to affect a network,” read an excerpt of Microsoft’s post.
The ransomware is a newer “more sophisticated” version of the Petya virus, Microsoft confirms. It also urges computer users to update their devices.
Several big companies were hit by the Petya attack, which started spreading Tuesday, including Russian oil company Rosneft, shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk, and pharmaceutical giant Merck.
The virus also hit Ukraine’s Chernobyl power plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, forcing it into manual operation.
The attack included a text note seeking $300 worth of bitcoin to access files.
The Peyta ransomware attack follows May’s massive Wannacry attack impacting businesses, hospitals, and organizations worldwide. In both cases, hackers demanded a payment in order to unlock encrypted files.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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