The notorious WannaCry Virus has hit Boeing’s computer network. People are now asking: is it safe to fly? In short: most likely.
On Wednesday, Boeing confirmed that its computer network had been infected with the WannaCry virus. Allegedly, the notorious ransomware suite affected its production equipment.
It was also reported that the threat could potentially “spread to airplane software,” leading people to worry about the safety of every Boeing airplane flight.
According to some Boeing officials, the virus infected thousands of computer systems located in around 70 countries worldwide. This prompted the company’s chief engineer, Mike VanderWel, to send out an internal memo addressing the concerns.
“It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down,” VanderWel was quoted as saying.
VanderWel also said in his memo that he was already “on a call with just about every VP in Boeing,” asking everyone to have “all hands on deck.”
The WannaCry virus made headlines last year when a group of anonymous cybercriminals launched an attack that affected small and large-scale enterprises, organizations, hospitals, transportation systems, and many other entities around the world.
WannaCry is a kind of ransomware used by hackers that automatically encrypts the victim’s files. Encrypted files can only be unlocked after a ransom is paid.
Typically, victims must in cryptocurrency, usually Bitcoin, in exchange for a decryption code. The anonymity of cryptocurrency platform makes it impossible for the perpetrator’s information to be accessed.
However, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee anything as, in practice, cybercriminals often leave their victims hanging even after payment is received.
In a tweet last night, Boeing downplayed the attack, citing that its scope is only limited to the company’s production line.
“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.”
Statement: 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.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 28, 2018
Cybersecurity experts believe that an updated version of the WannaCry virus may have been used to stage the attack. In a statement to Express, cyber threat analyst Mitchell Edwards said that the threat “is unlikely to severely impact the company.”
“Obviously, Boeing isn’t going to be running its entire production network on Windows. I hope not. So it’s likely a limited infection,” Edwards said. “The plane would have to have been connected to an infected system. The chances are pretty minimal.”