JUST IN: Eastern country hit by massive terrorist hacking attack

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An unknown virus is being blamed for a massive cyber attack on government infrastructure in Ukraine on Tuesday, affecting the country’s national bank, state power company and largest airport, according to news reports.

Deputy Prime Minister Rozenko Pavlo said he and other members of the Ukrainian government have no access to their computers and are instead seeing a message on their PCs, which says that a disk “contains errors and needs to be repaired” and warns the user that shutting off the PC will destroy all data.

“We also have a network ‘down’,” wrote Pavlo. “This image is being displayed by all computers of the government.”

Other affected computers are showing ransomware messages, which are demanding a payment of $300 in Bitcoin if users want to get access to encrypted files.

The National Bank of Ukraine said that several Ukrainian banks and financial firms have been affected and are now experiencing “difficulties with customer service and banking operations.”

According to a statement, “The National Bank bank is confident that the banking infrastructure’s defence against cyber fraud is properly set up and attempted cyber attacks on banks’ IT systems will be neutralised.”

When officials at Boryspil International Airport in Kiev, the Ukraine’s largest airport, saw its computers and departure boards go dark, Acting Director Pavel Ryabikinwith wrote on Facebook, “The official site of the airport and the scoreboard with the schedule of flights aren’t working!”

Other state-run entities, including the Ukrposhta state postal service, television stations and Kiev’s metro system have been affected by the attack, which comes the day before Ukraine celebrates its Constitution Day and hours after Colonel Maksim Shapoval, a member of the defense ministry’s main intelligence directorate, was assassinated in a Kiev car bombing. Police are calling it a “terrorist act”.

Repeated cyber attacks targeting crucial infrastructure have been launched against the Ukraine in the past three years, and officials suspect that Russia is the culprit.

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