Cyber attacks using malware called “BadRabbit” hit Russia and other nations on Tuesday, affecting Russian Interfax news agency and causing flight delays at Ukraine’s Odessa airport.
While no major outages were reported, the U.S. government issued a warning on the attack, which followed campaigns in May and June that used similar malware and resulted in what some economists estimated are billions of dollars in losses.
The attacks are disturbing because attackers quickly infected critical infrastructure, including transportation operators, indicating it was a “well-coordinated” campaign, said Robert Lipovsky, a researcher with cyber firm ESET.
More than half the victims were in Russia, followed by Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey and Japan, according to ESET.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on the BadRabbit ransomware, a type of virus that locks up infected computers and asks victims to pay a ransom to restore access. It did not identify any U.S. victims but advised the public to refrain from paying ransoms and report any infections to the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the government’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Ransomware infections have the potential to halt activity at targeted organizations. The May “WannaCry” ransomware shuttered hospitals, factories and other facilities around the globe for days.