Boeing was hit on Wednesday by a cyberattack that some of its executives identified as the same WannaCry computer virus that struck thousands of computer systems worldwide last year.
The news of the attack, first published by Dominic Gates from Seattle Times, triggered widespread alarm within the company that reacted by calling for “calm". “We’ve done a final assessment,” said Linda Mills, the head of communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The vulnerability was limited to a few machines. We deployed software patches. There was no interruption to the 777 jet program or any of our programs.”
However later, the world’s second-largest defence contractor took to social media late Wednesday and played down the attack by saying it was limited in scope and that it had not affected the company’s production lines. “A number of articles on a malware disruption are overstated and inaccurate. Our cybersecurity operations center detected a limited intrusion of malware that affected a small number of systems. Remediations were applied and this is not a production or delivery issue.”
To recall, WannaCry virus is a vicious form of what is known as ransomware — malware that first surfaced in a May 2017 worldwide cyberattack. WannaCry locks up victims’ computers and data with encryption, until attackers’ extortion demands are met. It made headlines when it hit hospitals in the UK and froze key computers at government institutions and other leading global corporate businesses. It replaced vital displays with a message that files on the computers were encrypted and would be destroyed unless a ransom was paid.