sunny.png
Monday February 24th, 2020 6:37AM

The Latest: Ukrainian software cited in cyberattack

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on a widespread cyberattack that is affecting companies and government systems (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

How the ransomware was first spread isn't known for sure, but several experts singled out Ukrainian accounting software called MEDoc, which in a brief message posted to its website acknowledged having been hacked.

In a lengthier statement posted to Facebook, however, the company said that it was not responsible for having seeded the rogue program.

"We can say that the MEDoc system cannot infect your computer with viruses when it updates," the company said.

___

3 p.m.

The head of a top Ukranian cybersecurity firm says it's too early to say if his country was singled out as the prime target but that its institutions, long a target of Russian hackers, may have been compromised through attrition.

Victor Zhora, CEO of Infosafe IT in Kiev, says he believes the ransomware, which attacks Microsoft operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10, was previously seeded and time-activated.

"It seems the virus is spreading all over Europe and I'm afraid it can harm the whole world," he said. Zhora's firm did triage on a well-coordinated attack blamed on pro-Russian hackers that tried to thwart the country's May 2014 election.

Zhora said the current ransomware, which propagates across networks, demands $300 in Bitcoin. He says it's too early for official confirmation of the targets in Ukraine but local media are reporting ATMs and some gasoline distribution to filling stations have been affected.

Cyberattacks blamed on pro-Russia hackers have twice taken down sizeable portions of Ukraine's power grid.

___

2:30 p.m.

Security experts say Tuesday's cyberattack shares something in common with last month's WannaCry attack: Both spread by using digital break-in tools purportedly created by the U.S. National Security Agency and recently leaked to the web.

Security vendors Bitdefender Labs and Kaspersky Labs say the NSA exploit, known as EternalBlue, is allowing the malware to spread inside an organization's network. Other than that, the latest malware is different from WannaCry.

Organizations should be protected if they had installed a fix that Microsoft issued in March.

But Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at the security firm Veracode, says that's only the case if 100 percent of computers were patched. He says that if one computer gets infected, the new malware has a backup mechanism to spread to patched computers within the network as well.

Wysopal says the attack seems to be hitting large industrial companies that "typically have a hard time patching all of their machines because so many systems simply cannot have down time."

Organizations hit include the Russian oil company Rosneft and the Danish oil and shipping company AP Moller-Maersk.

___

2:15 p.m.

A hospital and health care system based in western Pennsylvania says it is dealing with a widespread cyberattack.

A spokeswoman for Heritage Valley Health System says the attack Tuesday is affecting the organization's entire health system and employees are working to ensure safe patient care continues.

Heritage Valley is a $480 million network that provides care for residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties, in Pennsylvania; parts of eastern Ohio; and the panhandle of West Virginia.

It wasn't immediately clear if the cyberattack was related to the outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software that appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe Tuesday.

Also affected is New Jersey-based Merck, the second-largest drugmaker in the United States with extensive operations in the Philadelphia area.

Merck confirmed its computer network was "compromised" as part of the global attack.

___

(Previously datelined KIEV, Ukraine)

7:10 p.m.

The second-largest drugmaker in the United States is confirming it's been affected by a cyberattack.

In a message sent using its verified Twitter account, Merck confirmed Tuesday that its computer network was "compromised" as part of a global attack.

Officials said the Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company was investigating the incident but provided no further details.

Merck has global locations including in Ukraine, where a new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software causing mass disruption across Europe appeared to be hitting especially hard.

Company and government officials reported serious intrusions at the Ukrainian power grid, banks and government offices, where one senior official posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, "the whole network is down."

Dutch-based transport company TNT Express, which was taken over last year by FedEx, also said Tuesday that it is suffering computer disruptions. Spokesman Cyrille Gibot says that "like many other companies and institutions around the world, we are experiencing interference with some of our systems within the TNT network. We are assessing the situation and are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible and we regret any inconvenience to our customers." He declined further comment.

___

5:45 p.m.

Ukraine's prime minister says that a cyberattack affecting his country is "unprecedented," but "vital systems haven't been affected."

A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman also said on Facebook that "our IT experts are doing their job and protecting critical infrastructure ... The attack will be repelled and the perpetrators will be tracked down."

Company and government officials reported serious intrusions at the Ukrainian power grid, banks and government offices, where one senior official posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, "the whole network is down." Russia's Rosneft oil company also reported falling victim to hacking, as did Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk.

___

4:35 p.m.

Hackers have caused widespread disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard.

Company and government officials reported major disruption to the Ukrainian power grid, banks and government offices. Russia's Rosneft energy company also reported falling victim to hacking, as did shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk, which said every branch of its business was affected.

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

There's very little information about who might be behind the disruption, but technology experts who examined screenshots circulating on social media said it bears the hallmarks of ransomware, the name given to programs that hold data hostage by scrambling it until a payment is made.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care, AP Business - Utilities, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Ukrainian software cited in cyberattack
How the ransomware was first spread isn't known for sure, but several experts singled out Ukrainian accounting software called MEDoc, which in a brief message posted to its website acknowledged having been hacked
4:42PM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says it's 'OK' if health bill doesn't pass
President Donald Trump says that if the health care bill fails to pass in the Senate, he won't like it _ but "that's OK."
4:41PM ( 10 minutes ago )
FBI locates car related to missing Chinese scholar case
FBI locates car related to missing Chinese scholar case
4:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
These senators will make or break the GOP's health care push
Trump's promise to repeal and replace 'Obamacare' depends on the votes of a key group of GOP senators with qualms about the legislation
4:23PM ( 29 minutes ago )
New president's politicking raises ethics flags
Barely five months into office President Donald Trump keeps taking time out to run for re-election
4:20PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Man accused in missing son's slaying denies trying to flee
A California father told a judge he wasn't hiding from authorities when he was arrested in Las Vegas, and will not fight his transfer in custody to Los Angeles to face a murder charge in the disappearance of his 5-year-old son
4:14PM ( 38 minutes ago )
AP National News
Ten Commandments monument installed at Arkansas Capitol
Workers install Ten Commandments monument outside Arkansas Capitol, two years after lawmakers approved measure permitting the statue on state grounds
3:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
Colombia takes big step to peace as rebels lay down guns
Colombia is taking a big step toward peace as members of the country's largest rebel group lay down their guns
3:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote
Senate Republican leaders are delaying a vote on their prized health care bill until at least next month
3:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
Top General short headlines
US commerce secretary: US, Europe should have trade accord
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is saying that the United States and the European Union should have a free trade agreement
4:12PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Macron invites Trump to Bastille Day to honor US WWI troops
President Emmanuel Macron has invited President Donald Trump to the Bastille Day fete next month when France will celebrate the arrival 100 years ago of American troops to fight with the French during World War I.
3:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Scottish leader puts second independence referendum on hold
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon puts second independence referendum on hold amid Brexit
3:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Q&A: Controversy lingers after $1.7B cleanup of Hudson River
Dredging crews left the Hudson River two years ago, but criticism of the $1.7 billion cleanup is bubbling up again
4:13PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Yellen says reforms have made financial system safer
Yellen: Hopefully banking reforms mean next severe banking crisis will not happen 'in our lifetimes'
3:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP health bill: Big tax cuts for rich, not much for others
A new analysis shows that millionaires would get tax cuts averaging $52,000 a year from the Senate Republicans' health bill
3:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
The Latest: New cyberattack uses same NSA-developed exploit
Like last month's WannaCry malware, security experts say the malicious software used in Tuesday's cyberattack is spreading using digital break-in tools purportedly created by the U.S. National Security Agency and recently leaked to the web
2:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
Egg executives in salmonella case must report to prison
A father and son whose Iowa-based egg production company caused a massive 2010 salmonella outbreak have exhausted their appeals and a federal judge has ordered them to begin serving prison sentences
12:59PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: US drugmaker Merck also affected by cyberattack
The second-largest drugmaker in the United States is confirming it's been affected by a cyberattack
12:10PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Dozens of prospective jurors beg off 'Pharma Bro' case
Several prospective jurors have been excused from the federal securities fraud trial of an ex-pharmaceutical company executive because they claimed they couldn't be impartial
12:34AM ( 16 hours ago )
'Pharma Bro' defies advice to keep quiet before fraud trial
A former pharmaceutical CEO who became a pariah after raising the cost of a life-saving medication 5,000 percent can't keep quiet ahead of his fraud trial
9:15AM ( 1 day ago )
Transplanted: Large Idaho sequoia tree finds new home
A large sequoia tree with a history rooted in conservation was standing in the way of progress, so on Sunday, it was moved
3:38PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Health Care
California big tunnels win early approval. Questions remain
U.S. wildlife agencies have given critical first approval to California's ambitious $16 billion project to build two massive tunnels that would re-engineer the water system in the nation's most populous state
8:46PM ( 20 hours ago )
California's giant water tunnels win first crucial approval
U.S. wildlife agencies have given critical first approval to California's ambitious $16 billion project to build two massive tunnels that would re-engineer the water system in the nation's most populous state
3:57PM ( 1 day ago )
Crucial first rulings on California's giant water tunnels
Federal wildlife officials set to release rulings on California Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious plan to build two massive tunnels to ship water from the northern part of the state to the south
2:33PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
FBI locates car related to missing Chinese scholar case
FBI locates car related to missing Chinese scholar case
4:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
New cyberattack wallops Europe; spreads more slowly in US
Hackers have caused widespread disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard
4:30PM ( 22 minutes ago )
3 Chicago police officers indicted in Laquan McDonald case
Three Chicago police officers have been indicted on felony charges alleging they conspired to cover up the fatal shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald by a white officer
4:26PM ( 26 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump meeting with GOP senators at White House
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are hosting Republican senators at the White House to discuss flailing efforts to pass a new health care bill
4:26PM ( 26 minutes ago )
These senators will make or break the GOP's health care push
Trump's promise to repeal and replace 'Obamacare' depends on the votes of a key group of GOP senators with qualms about the legislation
4:23PM ( 29 minutes ago )