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UN cyber security chief says Petya virus is more dangerous than WannaCry

The new attack poses risks to absolutely all companies, economies, government and private internet users

VIENNA, June 29. /TASS/. The encrypting virus Petya, which has recently attacked computers in various countries worldwide, is more sophisticated technically and more dangerous than another ransomware virus, WannaCry, as it tacks computers in three different ways, Neil Walsh of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Cime’s Cyber and Emerging Crime department, told TASS on Wednesday.

"It's a new type of ransomware. This ransomware can attack in three or four different ways while WannaCry simply used one exploit called "eternal blue". This one can do a lot of different things in different ways. It has a different capability," he said.

According to Walsh, the new attack poses risks to absolutely all companies, economies, government and private internet users. "We look at Maersk the shipping company which is currently struggling to unload its container ships. We have a port in India that is compromised. We see oil companies in Moscow which are compromised," he noted.

He said so far it is too early to speak about the scale of the attack. "So far we don't have a clear view about it yet. We see the victims across Ukraine, across Russia. Among european countries infected by the virus are Denmark, Austria, UK and France," he noted.

On June 27, a ransomware virus that block access to computer files and extorts a ransom for unblocking them attacked dozens of energy, telecommunications and financial companies and organizations in Russian and Ukraine and later on spread worldwide. Group-IB, a company dealing with prevention of and investigation into cybercrimes, said the attack was staged with the use of a Petya encrypting virus that infects computers and demands a $300-bitcoin ransom. Kaspersky Lab however said it was a new ransomware virus and dubbed it as NotPetya.

The previous large-scale attack on computers of Russian companies and government institutions was staged on May 12, when unidentified hackers tried to attack Windows OS computers in 74 countries with a WannaCry ransomware virus that extorted a $600-bitcoin ransom to unblock them. According to the Russian cybersecurity and anti-virus provider Kaspersky Lab, a total of 45,000 cyber attacks were carried out across the world. Most of the attempts at infecting computers were registered in Russia.

Some reports said that they used a hacking tool developed by the US National Security Agency.