Companies weigh cyberattack cost, with Ukraine hit hard

A message demanding money is seen on a monitor of a payment terminal at a branch of Ukraine's state-owned bank Oschadbank after Ukrainian institutions were hit by a wave of cyber attacks earlier in the day in Kiev

Employees of Reckitt Benckiser have reportedly been sent home as the company's system was hit by cyber attack.

A wave of cyberattacks hit Russian Federation and Ukraine before spreading to western Europe and North America on Tuesday, in the second global outbreak of so-called ransomware in less than two months. If you haven't enabled the automatic updates on your PC yet, you can check the Microsoft guidance for WannaCrypt attacks.

More than 30 victims paid up but security experts are questioning whether extortion was the goal, given the relatively small sum demanded, or whether the hackers were driven by destructive motives rather than financial gain. An email address provided by the criminals has been shut down by the hosting provider, while the Bitcoin wallet - where ransoms are deposited - has not been touched.

They include big global brands like snack maker Mondelez (MDLZ), British advertising giant WPP (WPPGF) and the real estate division of French bank BNP Paribas.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "no serious problems" had occurred as a result of the cyberattacks.

"The National Bank of Ukraine has warned banks. about an external hacker attack on the websites of some Ukrainian banks. which was carried out today", Ukraine's central bank said in a statement.

As another cyber attack spreads across the internet, tech experts in the Panhandle are stressing the importance of cyber safety.

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"My sense is this starts to look like a state operating through a proxy.as a kind of experiment to see what happens", Lord told Reuters on Wednesday.

In the United States, Merck was hit as was NY law firm of DLA Piper.

The cyberattacks recalled the WannaCry ransomware outbreak last month which hit more than 150 countries and a total of more than 200,000 victims.

There was speculation, however, among some experts that once the new virus had infected one computer it could spread to other machines on the same network, even if those devices had received a security update.

A new, highly virulent strain of malicious software that is crippling computers globally appears to have been sown in Ukraine, where it badly hobbled much of the government and private sector on the eve of a holiday celebrating a post-Soviet constitution.

Affecting airports and ATMs in Ukraine and hampering global businesses from the Maersk shipping giant to the Merck drug company.

Security firms including Microsoft, Cisco's (CSCO.O) Talos and Symantec (SYMC.O) said they had confirmed some of the initial infections occurred when malware was transmitted to users of a Ukrainian tax software program called MEDoc.

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MEDoc has denied the claims, in a Facebook post - but in a blog post analysing how the infection had taken hold on Windows machines, Microsoft also points the finger at the accounting software.

A number of the worldwide firms hit have operations in Ukraine, and the virus is believed to have spread within global corporate networks after gaining traction within the country.

India's government on Wednesday said operations at a terminal at the country's largest container port in Mumbai, run by Maersk, were disrupted.

"We must retire the idea that traditional defences focussed on yesterday's known attacks offer anything but rudimentary protection", he added.

Experts are still unsure about the attack's origins or its real objective.

"The restoration of banking systems can not be carried out immediately - this takes time", a spokeswoman said.

Production at the Cadbury factory on the Australian island state of Tasmania ground to a halt late on Tuesday after computer systems went down.

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