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Spanish Companies Experience Cyber Attack


Telefonica, a Spanish mobile operator which owns O2 network in UK, confirmed today that it has been struck by a cyber attack.


Spanish media reported that the company has suggested its employees to shut down their computers after it was attacked with ransomware which is a kind of software hijacking files till the company pays a ransom amount.


National Cryptology Centre of Spain issued a statement saying "there has been an alert related to huge ransomware attack on different organisations, which is affecting their Windows systems" and adding that more number of organisations had been struck but did not name them.


Wired.com posted on May 13th, 2017, quoting a spokesman of Spanish telecom giant Telefonica as saying "there had been a problem with IT systems of the company which has affected only internal network and had not hit clients or the firm's service to its customers."


Sources claim that the attackers are now demanding the equivalent of $300 (274Euros) in bitcoin to decrypt the corporate files which is a normal ransomware tactic. Reports indicate "external partners" and employees of the firm have been informed to shut down their computers.


The message states that the bitcoin ransom is required by May 15th. If the ransom amount is not transferred to a bitcoin wallet then the hackers will raise their ransom amount. The message also states that if Telefonica fails to pay ransom amount by 19th May, then the ransomware will completely remove all encrypted files.


News outlet El Mundo states that Telefonica has admitted that the attack took place but has confirmed that its customers have not been affected. The slide of popular brands of the company including O2, Movistar and Vivo are not allowed to be suffering any down time nor the banking systems of the service.


Chema Alonso, Chief Data Officer of Telefonica, told Reuters through Twitter: "News (of this attack) has been exaggerated and our coworkers are working on this issue at present."


Spokespersons of the respective firm said that the unit of Vodafone in Spain, power company Iberdrola and utility Gas natural have asked staff to switch off computers as a defensive step. IBTimes UK contacted Telefonica for comment but has not received any response at the time of publication.

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