A new ransomware dubbed “Petya” started spreading across Europe on Tuesday, affecting businesses and governments that weren’t sufficiently protected.Ransomware is a malicious piece of software that locks files on a computer and demands payments to unlock them. The files on the computers are not accessible and are therefore useless.Many organizations in Europe and the US have been crippled by the ransomware attack. The malicious software has spread through large firms including the advertiser WPP, food company Mondelez, transport firm Maersk etc. leading to PCs and data being locked up and held for ransom.It had been spotted predominantly in Ukraine.
In India, its largest container port, JNPT has been hit by ransomware. “The (shipping) ministry has confirmed that one terminal at JNPT has been affected due to the attack at Maersk’s Hague office,” a government official reported.It’s the second major global ransomware attack in the past two months. In early May, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was one of the organizations infected by WannaCry. The WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, with the NHS, Spanish phone company Telefónica and German state railways among those hardest hit.Like WannaCry, “Petya” spreads rapidly through networks that use Microsoft Windows. It is not clear who is behind these attacks yet.