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Tuesday’s Massive Cyber Attacks Hit U.S. Drug Giant Merck

Jun 27, 2017

A wave of cyber attacks hit the globe on Tuesday, ensnaring computer systems ranging from shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk to various institutions in Russia, Ukraine, and Europe. And U.S. drug giant Merck may be one of the victims.

It's still unclear where the ransomware attacks, which hold files hostage if companies or governments refuse to pay recompense (in this case $300 in Bitcoin for a decryption key), are originating. Early reports suggest it's a form of the malware dubbed "Petya" but there's a possibility it could be something else. Regardless, cybersecurity experts fear the digital scourge could grow between connected IT infrastructure systems over the following days.

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Whatever the source, Merck tweeted on Tuesday that its global computer systems have been affected in a cyber attack.

A Merck spokesperson told Fortune that the company is still conducting its own investigation into the breach and doesn't have any details beyond what's expressed in the tweets at this time. The spokesperson also could not confirm that Merck engineers had definitively linked the compromise to Petya.

Cyber crimes, and ransomware in particular, have been on the rise in recent years. Health care organizations have been a particularly popular target given the wealth of personal and financial information that they carry. Merck says that it will release more details of its investigation once the drug maker learns exactly what happened.

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