Advertising holding firm WPP and several of its agencies are among those affected by an apparent global cyber attack that has caused multiple companies to lose control of their systems, with some reportedly receiving ransom demands for stolen data.
Several of WPP’s agencies including GroupM and MediaCom have been affected, as have organisations as diverse as Kiev’s main airport, Danish shipping firm Maersk and aircraft manufacturer Antonov. Food giant Mondelez International has announced that it is suffering a “global IT outage” but has not confirmed if it is due to the same cyber attack.
WPP announced via Twitter that several of its firms has “been affected by a suspected cyber attack. We are taking appropriate measures & will update asap.” Mary Heather, senior director at Burson-Marsteller, a WPP company, said on the social network that the agency had “no access to technology” at the moment.
According to The Drum, an internal email to WPP agencies has told staff that the attack is affecting all “Windows servers, PCs and laptops” and that all potentially affected machines “must be turned off and disconnected immediately until further notice” while investigations are carried out.
Experts have suggested that the outages could be part of a ransomware attack, similar to the Wannacry software which affected the NHS and other organisations last month. A piece of software called Petrwrap, which has been on sale on malware forums for as little as $28 (£22), is suspected to be responsible.