The unprecedented global cyberattack affected “more than 75,000 victims” in dozens of countries, French police said in a statement today, the day after the ransomware hit Russia’s banks, British hospitals and European car factories among others. “This is a provisional figure of the number of infected computers and could rise significantly over the coming days,” Valerie Maldonado, deputy head of the French police’s anti- Cybercrime Office told AFP.
Europol described Friday’s cyberattack as “unprecedented”. The attacks used ransomware, which locks users’ files unless they pay the attackers a designated sum in the virtual Bitcoin currency. Images appeared on victims’ screens demanding payment of $300 (275 euros) in Bitcoin, saying: “Ooops, your files have been encrypted!” French police described the mode of the online attack as “particularly dangerous”.
“Once the first computer is infected, it spreads throughout the whole network to which it is connected, paralysing all the computers whose files it encrypts.” The ransomware seems to have hit individual and corporate users equally, the police said in a statement posted online.