A Boeing production plant in Charleston, South Carolina was hit by the WannaCry ransomwear cyberattack on Wednesday.
Mike VanderWel, the chief engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplane production engineering, sent out a company-wide memo calling 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,” reads VanderWel’s memo. The company worries the virus may hit equipment used in functional airplane tests, which could lead to it spreading to airplane software. WannaCry, which the Trump administration blames on the cyberterrorism unit of North Korea as of December 2017, attacked mainly via a critical Windows vulnerability, and its spread starting last May caused widespread alarm, with hospitals in the UK crippled in the initial wave of the attack. Variants of the virus then began popping up in more than 150 countries mere weeks later.
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.