This is the age of information technology, where many wonders are achieved with the aid of powerful computing equipment. It is also incredibly vulnerable to electronic attack from tech-savvy perpetrators with a significant amount of malice. Not so long ago the world was caught off-guard by the widespread cyber-attack carried out using a dangerous “Ransomware” called WannaCry. The hackers responsible did the assault in order to raise money for having victimized computer owners pay their ransom in the digital currency. Since then software companies like Microsoft have worked to develop countermeasures against cyber-attacks of this sort.

Not that it helped much with the latest global ransomware strike that took place this week.

Just like WannaCry

Starting on Tuesday, June 27, a massive cyber-attack primary occurred, aimed at businesses in the Ukraine but also spread out all over the world. More prominent victims of this new ransomware hit include the PPW advertising agency in the UK, the Rosneft oil, and a gas corporate giant in Russia and the Maersk shipping firm in Denmark. Across the Atlantic, the Merck pharmaceutical company in the US was also affected, as it announced on its official social media channels like with the rest of the businesses mentioned. The event was a dark mirror to the similar WannaCry ransomware incident from a month ago.

Merck & Co. posted a tweet reporting that the new ransomware hack compromised their company computer network. Another American company that reported a “global IT outage” in their systems was Mondelez International, owner of snack brands such as Cadbury and Oreo. They explained further that all their company-use phone lines went down due to their connection to the affected computer network.

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The source of the new ransomware strike has not yet been determined, although the attack did follow a pattern like the May WannaCry case, down to the responsible parties asking for a digital currency ransom.

A new ransomware online

Ukraine was the focal point of the new cyber-attack, with its government computer network brought down as a result.

However, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman assures the public that “vital systems” were not penetrated by the debilitating ransomware, which exploits flaws in network security. An initial investigation by cyber-security analysts initially identified the program used as one called Petya, which had been advertised for sale on Russian hacking forums.

Further analysis by Russian-based Kaspersky Labs instead concludes that the guilty ransomware was completely brand new, although it does have some commonality with Petya. This has led to the researchers to dub the unknown ransomware as “NotPetya” for reporting purposes. Departments such as America’s Homeland Security and Europol are also joining in the investigation, which has equally dangerous implications as the WanaCry assault.