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Pharma giant Merck hit in growing ransomware attack

Pharma giant Merck hit in growing ransomware attack
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Pharmaceutical giant Merck announced Tuesday that it has been hit by the rapidly spreading Petya ransomware attack.

“We confirm our company's computer network was compromised today as part of global hack. Other organizations have also been affected. We are investigating the matter and will provide additional information as we learn more,” the pharmaceutical company said on Twitter.

The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck is one of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. It's the first major American company to announce that it has been hit by the ransomware, which has already hit firms across Europe and India.

The ransomware encrypts files and file systems on a computer, charging victims $300 to decrypt their information.

Petya’s spread lagged in the United States because the U.S. workday had not yet begun when the ransomware began to spread.

The attack appears to be utilizing the same “EternalBlue” vulnerability in Windows computers that was also used in May's "WannaCry" ransomware attack. Both attacks appear to use hacking tools believed to have been stolen from the National Security Agency and later released online by the ShadowBrokers group.