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News 15 May 17

Romania Worst Hit in Balkans by Cyber-Attack

Romania was the Balkan country worst affected by last Friday's global cyber-attack, while Bulgaria reported that one unnamed public institution was affected.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
Romania's Intelligence Service SRI said it could not estimate the impact of the ransomware attack because it only guards public institutions. Photo: Fotografia cnj/Flikr.

Several Balkan countries braced on Monday for a new wave of cyberattacks, as Europol warned that last Friday’s WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected 150 countries, might trigger aftershocks as people returned to work in the morning.

Romania suffered most in the Balkans, according to cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab. Analysis by the company said Romania ranked ninth in the top ten worst affected countries, after Russia, Ukraine, India, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg and China.

Romania’s Intelligence Service, SRI, on Monday conducted a large cybersecurity exercise but said it was difficult to estimate the national impact of the attack because it only handles cybersecurity in public institutions

Several banks, multinational companies and even public institutions preventively shut down servers to avoid a new wave of infections.

Some border control checkpoints in western Romania temporarily stopped activity on Monday morning, but later announced that their systems were not affected.

Car maker Dacia said production at its plant in Mioveni was partially stopped on Saturday due to a cyber-attack, which might be linked to the WannaCry ransomware. Dacia’s site in Mioveni is the largest vehicle plant of French Renault Group, with 7,100 staff. Following the attack, some employees were sent home as the operations were partially suspended.

The Ministry of Interior in Bulgaria said one institution was affected by a WannaCry cyberattack on Monday but declined to name it, adding that experts were working on the problem.

Serbia's Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications on Monday said that Serbia was not at risk. No other Balkan state reported incidents, although Montenegro was already on alert after a wave of cyber-attacks in February following the reported coup plot.

Globally, last Friday's cyber-attack affected over 200,000 networks in over 150 countries, including Britain’s health system, the NHS, the French car maker Renault, Russian banks, American FexEx, German railways, as well as universities in Greece and Italy.

On Monday, cybersecurity companies warned that a new malware called Uiwex had been detected in some European countries.

Microsoft on Monday said the attack should be seen as "a wake-up call” for governments that store date on software that could be accessed by hackers. The company said the latest virus had exploited a flaw in Microsoft Windows that was stolen from US intelligence.

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