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Companies still recovering from global cyberattack

Staff Writer |
Many businesses still struggle to recover hopelessly scrambled computer networks, collateral damage from a massive cyberattack that targeted Ukraine three days ago.

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The Heritage Valley Health System couldn't offer lab and diagnostic imaging services at 14 community and neighborhood offices in western Pennsylvania, Frank Bajak and Raphael Satter write.

DLA Piper, a London-based law firm with offices in 40 countries, said on its website that email systems were down; a receptionist said email hadn't been restored by the close of business day.

Dave Kennedy, a former Marine cyberwarrior who is now CEO of the security company TrustedSec, said one U.S. company he is helping is rebuilding its entire network of more than 5,000 computers.

The cyberattack that began Tuesday brought even some Fortune 1000 companies to their knees, experts say. Kennedy said a lot more "isn't being reported by companies who don't want to say that they are hit."

The malware, which security experts are calling NotPetya, was unleashed through Ukraine tax software, called MeDoc.

Customers' networks became infected downloading automatic updates from its maker's website.

Many customers are multinationals with offices in the eastern European nation.

The malware spread so quickly, worming its way automatically through interconnected private networks, as to be nearly unstoppable.

What saved the world from digital mayhem, experts say, was its limited business-to-business connectivity with Ukrainian enterprises, the intended target.

Had those direct connections been extensive—on the level of a major industrial nation—"you are talking about a catastrophic failure of all of our systems and environments across the globe. I mean it could have been absolutely terrifying," Kennedy said.

Microsoft said NotPetya hit companies in at least 64 nations, including Russia, Germany and the United States.

Victims include drug giant Merck & Co. and the shipping company FedEx's TNT subsidiary.

Trade in FedEx stock was temporarily halted Wednesday.

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