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MSD struck in second global cyber attack

Published on 28/06/17 at 09:42am

Following the recent and heavily-publicised ransomware attack which hit the NHS in the UK and almost 100 other countries, the world has found itself in the midst of another. The vehicle for the attack, a virus dubbed Petya, has been reported in countries including Russia, the UK, and the US. Among the firms affected is US pharmaceutical company MSD, or Merck as it is known in its own country.

The company acknowledged the attack on Monday, tweeting: "We confirm our company's computer network was compromised today as part of global hack. Other organizations have also been affected. We are investigating the matter and will provide additional information as we learn more."

In an internal communication, employees were told: “The company is currently experiencing a hostile ransomware attack on its network systems. While IT risk management and global security respond to this threat please remain calm.” Staff were instructed not to use social media and to disconnect devices from the company network.

Interestingly, MSD’s stock had risen the same day after reporting the success of its cholesterol drug anacetrapib.

Like the previous WannaCry attack, the virus functions by blocking access to data and files, demanding a bitcoin payment from the owner in order to regain access. This new attack originated in Ukraine, and is being called the biggest in the country’s history.

Matt Fellows

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