The British government says that Russia was behind a massive global cyberattack that hit major companies in June 2017.
Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad said in a statement on Thursday that the Russian military was responsible for the attack, which initially targeted computers in Ukraine but quickly spread beyond its borders.
The attack — called NotPetya — hit companies including British advertising group WPP (, Oreo maker )Mondelez (, U.S. drugmaker )Merck ( and global shipping company )FedEx (. )
“The destructive attack masqueraded as ransomware, but its purpose was principally to disrupt,” the U.K. government said in a statement.
“The decision to publicly attribute this incident reiterates the position of the U.K. and its allies that malicious cyber activity will not be tolerated,” it added.
Ahmad said the attack had disrupted organizations across Europe, costing them hundreds of millions of pounds.
In September, FedEx attributed a $300 million loss to the attack. The company’s subsidiary, TNT Express, was forced to suspend business.
CNNMoney (London) First published February 15, 2018: 4:50 AM ET