Boeing confirms malware attack, downplays production impact

After reports emerged that the aerospace giant had fallen victim to the WannaCry ransomware, Boeing downplayed the production impact, labelling it a 'limited intrusion' of malware.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

After reports emerged on Wednesday afternoon that Boeing had found itself the latest victim of the WannaCry ransomware attack, the company issued a statement to explain that its cybersecurity operations centre had merely detected a "limited intrusion" of malware that had affected a small number of its systems.

Although ZDNet has reached out to Boeing for comment, a statement issued to sister site CNET downplays the concerns over the company's production impact.

"A number of articles on a malware disruption are overstated and inaccurate," Linda Mills, vice president of Boeing commercial airplanes communications, told CNET.

"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."

Claims Boeing had been struck by the virus that caused global panic when it spread last year were made after the company's commercial airplane chief engineer Mike VanderWel distributed a memo to staff that called for "all hands on deck".

"It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down," the Seattle Timesreported VanderWel as writing in the memo. He reportedly added that he was concerned the virus would hit equipment used in functional tests of planes ready to roll out and potentially "spread to airplane software".

The WannaCry ransomware, labelled the biggest challenge of 2017, saw ransomware spread with the help of a leaked NSA exploit and infect over 300,000 PCs at major organisations around the globe.

The United Kingdom's National Health Service was one of the highest-profile victims of the attack, with 47 trusts and foundation trusts affected. The ransomware forced a number of hospitals offline and some took weeks to recover.

The United States and its Five Eyes partners blamed the WannaCry ransomware attack on North Korea in December.


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