In Brief

WannaCry virus hits Boeing production plant

Ransomware that crippled NHS returns with attack on US factory

The infamous WannaCry computer malware that plagued thousands of devices across the world last year has returned, with an attack at a Boeing facility on Wednesday. 

As the aerospace firm struggled the contain the virus, engineering chief Mike VanderWel sent an internal memo to employees at the production plant in Charleston, South Carolina, calling for “all hands on deck”.

“[The virus] is metastasising rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 [automated spar assembly tools] may have gone down,” VanderWel wrote. 

According to the Daily Express, the engineer said he was worried about the virus  “spreading to airplane software”, although the malware is now believed to have been contained to production only.

WannaCry, which first struck last May, locks users out of their computer and prompts them to “pay a ransom, typically in cryptocurrency”, to unlock the device, says The Verge

Microsoft released software updates following last year’s attacks, which forced the NHS to turn patients away after its computers were locked. However, this week’s strike on the Boeing facility proves the malware has adapted, the tech news site says. 

Despite the “vicious” nature of the virus, Boeing has “played down” yesterday’s attack and says that it has not impacted the company’s production lines, The New York Times reports. 

In a statement on Twitter, Boeing said that “a number of articles on a malware disruption are overstated and inaccurate”.

“Our cybersecurity operations centre 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,” the company said. 

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