Major cyber-attack hits businesses across the world – including one of Sweden’s largest grocery chains

Data attack - cyber attack - hackerPhoto: Lise Åserud / NTB
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The hackers behind the IT attack that has hit Swedish Coop, among other targets, are demanding NOK 600 million in ransom.

The attack has affected hundreds of companies around the world. Among them is Swedish Coop, which has had to close hundreds of grocery stores, Apotek Hjärtat, and SJ.

The companies are now asked to pay USD 70 million, equivalent to NOK 600 million, for the computer systems to be restored.

The ransom demand has been published on the blog of the hacker group Revil and, according to experts, seems authentic.

The attack began on Friday. It was aimed at the American software company Kaseya, which sells services to customers around the world, including to Coop.

FBI investigation

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says the attack is so extensive that investigators can’t work with every single company affected. 

As many as 1,000 companies may have been the target of the attack that started just before the long weekend as Americans celebrated their Independence Day.

The FBI asks companies that believe they could be affected to take all recommended measures, follow Kaseya’s advice, and report the attack to the FBI.

President Joe Biden says he has ordered an investigation into the case, particularly to see if there may be a connection to Russia. Russian hackers have previously been accused of being behind a series of so-called ransomware viruses, also known as ransomware. 

Such attacks involve hackers blocking users and businesses from accessing their own computers and data and demanding ransoms to unlock them again.

Weaknesses in preparedness

Although cyber threats have increased in recent years, many Swedish companies are ill-prepared for computer attacks, Swedish Radio reports.

Coop had to close most of its 800 stores on Saturday because the payment systems were locked. They also remained closed on Sunday. They slowly started reopening on Monday.

“There is both a general lack of competence and far too few people who can work with this. In addition, we may have been a little naive for a while and thought that this could not happen to us,” security manager Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder in the Internet Foundation noted.

Banks and the nuclear power industry are best equipped to handle cyber attacks. Small organizations and companies that apply for external services and are thus dependent on the suppliers ‘preparedness are the least prepared, research engineer David Lindahl at the Swedish Armed Forces’ research institute said.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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