Digital security researchers say malware attack that spread from Ukraine appeared to be focused on damaging IT systems

A ransomware attack that affected at least 2,000 global users on Tuesday appears to have been deliberately engineered to damage IT systems rather than extort funds, according to security researchers.

The attack began in Ukraine, and spread through a hacked Ukrainian accountancy software developer to companies in Russia, western Europe and the US. The software demanded payment of $300 (£230) to restore the user’s files and settings.

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