A worker passes an illuminated oil drilling rig, operated by Rosneft PJSC (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Rosneft Keeps Oil Flowing as Hackers Target Russia, Ukraine

(Bloomberg) -- Rosneft PJSC said oil output was uninterrupted after the servers of Russia’s largest crude producer were infected by a virus that targeted companies across the country and neighboring Ukraine.

“The hacker attack could have led to serious consequences, but due to the fact that the company switched to a backup system for managing production processes, neither production nor preparation of oil was stopped,” Rosneft said Tuesday in a statement. The company also tweeted that it has asked law-enforcement agencies to investigate.

Businesses in Russia and Ukraine have come under attack from the Petya virus, which has locked computers at energy and transport companies, banks and state bodies, demanding $300 in cryptocurrency to unblock them, according to Moscow-based cyber-security firm Group-IB. London-based advertising giant WPP Plc also said it had been affected, as did shipping operator A.P. Moller-Maersk in Copenhagen.

Hacking efforts against oil and gas companies globally have become more frequent and sophisticated as the industry relies increasingly on technology. Rosneft itself has said it plans to make greater use of digital technologies, and this month agreed with General Electric Co. to collaborate in this area.

Telecommunications operators and retailers have also been struck by the Petya virus, which is spreading in a similar way to the WannaCry attack last month, Group-IB said. 

The May assault affected more than 200,000 computers in at least 150 countries, according to Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency. The hackers used malware to encrypt computer files, making them inaccessible, and demanded a ransom. Russia and Ukraine had a heavy concentration of infections, according to Dutch security company Avast Software BV.