A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across the world, hitting companies and governments in Europe especially hard.
Officials in Ukraine reported serious intrusions of the country's power grid as well as at banks and government offices, where one senior executive posted a photo of a darkened computer screen and the words, "the whole network is down." The prime minister cautioned that the country's "vital systems" hadn't been affected.
Russia's Rosneft oil company also reported falling victim to hacking and said it had narrowly avoided major damage, as did Danish shipping giant A.P.
"A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide," said Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender, where analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that it appeared to be nearly identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage-taking programs that has been circulating for months.
"Data breaches and cyber hacks are one of the biggest risks facing business worldwide," said Michelle Crorie, a partner at law firm Clyde & Co.