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Boeing computers hit by WannaCry virus

Aerospace
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The WannaCry virus hit Boeing computers on Wednesday, causing alarm that data would be compromised or that jet production equipment would be brought down.

The company said the threat has been eliminated. Boeing declined to comment on the situation directly, referring the Business Journal to a story in The Seattle Times.

The Times reported that a chief Boeing engineer sent out a memo Wednesday warning that the worm appeared to have started in North Charleston and that he feared it could bring down assembly tools or spread to airplane software. 

Boeing’s IT team investigated the situation, determining only a few machines were affected, the Times reported.

Boeing released a statement Wednesday night: “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 and delivery issue.”

The company said the attack occurred only in the Commercial Airplanes division. Linda Mills, head of communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told The Seattle Times that the attack did not cause significant damage.

“We’ve done a final assessment,” Mills said to the newspaper. “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.”

The WannaCry virus first surfaced last year, in a worldwide cyberattack in May. Hackers use the ransomware to target computers on the Microsoft Windows operating system — locking users out of their data; encrypting their data; and sometimes demanding ransom payments for the return of the data.

The worm can damage individual computers and can spread to all Windows computers on a network.

Microsoft released some emergency software patches last year to stop the spread of the WannaCry virus, although several media reports suggest it might have evolved since then.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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