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Wannacry ransomware attack on Boeing plant

A South Carolina facility owned by aerospace and defense contracting giant Boeing was hit by a WannaCry attack on Wednesday, the Seattle Times reported, but the company is now trying to tamp down fears that the dreaded ransomware is back on the rise after it was only barely snuffed out last year.

The assembly lines potentially affected by the software problem include those of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner North Charleston, South Carolina, and the 777X Composite Wing Center, the Seattle Times report indicated.

“It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down,” Boeing engineer Mike VanderWel wrote in a memo cited by the newspaper. VanderWel said he was concerned that the virus would hit equipment used to test jetliners before they roll out of the factory for their initial flight and potentially “spread to airplane software.”

787 Factory Photos – Everett WA Oct. 2012
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The Times reported that VanderWel told a fellow Boeing worker the cyberattack required “a battery-like response.” That appears to be a reference to the 2013 in-flight battery fires in 2013 that grounded all Boeing’s Dreamliners and triggered a three-month-long effort to alleviate safety concerns.

The virus operated by locking down machines, prompting system owners to pay a ransom typically in cryptocurrency to resolve the issue. Microsoft has issued patches to limit the virus’ spread, but that apparently has not completely eliminated it.

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