A fresh cyber attack on Tuesday disrupted activity in more than 60 countries across the globe.
The virus, known as GoldenEye or Petya, originated from Ukraine and quickly spread to other countries. It was distributed by computers downloading infected updates of a widely-used tax accounting package and by people visiting a local news site in Ukraine which had been hacked.
Read more: After WannaCry Comes Adylkuzz
According to security firm McAfee, the virus spread across the United States and affected large parts of Europe, South America and Asia. These included public and private institutions in Ukraine and multinational companies including the Russian oil company Rosneft, the German railway company Deutsche Bahn, the British marketing company WPP and even an Australian factory producing Cadbury chocolates. The virus also shut down a cargo booking system at the Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk which caused congestion at several of its ports across the world. In Ukraine, computers at the old Chernobyl nuclear plant stopped functioning and workers had to monitor radiation manually.
It is unclear who is behind the international cyber attack. According to risk-modeling firm Cyence, the recent spate of cyber attacks causing critical computer networks to go offline has triggered roughly $8 billion in losses.
Similar to the Wannacry attack in May, the virus encrypted data on machines it had infected and demanded $300 in bitcoins as ransom in order to regain access to the locked information.
The GoldenEye attack seems to have made use of a code known as Eternal Blue which is believed to be one of the hacking tools developed by National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States and leaked online in April by a group known as the Shadow Brokers.
Read more: Global Data Held Hostage Through Ransomware
The NSA has not publicly acknowledged that it developed the hacking tools leaked by Shadow Brokers.
In a statement, Scott McConnell, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said “The Department of Homeland Security is monitoring reports of cyberattacks affecting multiple global entities and is coordinating with our international and domestic cyber partners.”