MADRID May 12 Spanish companies including
Telefonica were hit by a so-called ransomware hack into
their computer systems on Friday, with Spain's cyber security
body warning of a "massive attack" affecting several firms.
Ransomware attacks meddle with computer systems by
scrambling or hi-jacking them while asking for a ransom to
return them to normal.
"There has been an alert relating to a massive ransomware
attack on various organisations, which is affecting their
Windows systems," Spain's National Cryptology Centre said in a
statement, adding that a large number of firms had been hit.
It did not name them.
A spokesman for Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica said there
had been a problem with the company's IT systems but said that
this had affected only the internal network and had not hit
clients or the firm's service to customers.
"News (of this attack) has been exaggerated and our
colleagues are working on it right now," Chema Alonso,
Telefonica's chief data officer and a well-known cyber security
expert, said in a message on Twitter.
Vodafone's unit in Spain, power company Iberdrola
and utility Gas Natural have asked staff to
turn off computers as a preventive measure, spokespeople at the
respective firms said.
"For now we've not been affected but we're looking at
precautionary measures such as cutting off internet access for
employees," a spokesman at Vodafone said.
(Reporting by Carlos Ruano and Jose Rodriguez, Writing by Sarah
White; Editing by Julien Toyer and Elaine Hardcastle)