WPP APAC crippled by cyber attack

Global advertising giant WPP has been debilitated by the ransomware attack that has swept across the world overnight.

The organisation’s sites across Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America are offline and it is understood WPP globally has been instructed not to log onto the corporate network until further notice.

WPP’s APAC spokesperson said: “IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected by a suspected cyber attack. We are assessing the situation, taking appropriate measures and will update as soon as possible.”

Mumbrella Asia understads that WPP APAC’s agency staff have gone into work today, but are having to use their mobiles and personal computers for day-to-day operations.

WPP would not confirm whether its Asia offices used the company’s centralised on-premise systems, which appear to run most of the organisation’s IT infrastructure, or an independent cloud-based system, as is used in Australia.

The holding company also declined to confirm whether the trade platforms at the media agencies within GroupM and the programmatic agency Xaxis were affected by the attack.

Contractors and employees have been sharing their ‘black screens of death’ at various offices around the world under the hashtag #wpphack with one staffer at a WPP subsidiary office in Detroit posting how staff were enjoying cable TV while waiting to log onto their networks.

The latest cyberattack, dubbed “NotPetya” has debilitated a range of major corporations including Danish Shipping giant Maersk, Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft and US pharmaceutical company Merck.

NotPetya exploits the same system vulnerability as the Wannacry ransomware but unlike the earlier outbreak spreads using Microsoft’s administrator tools. Microsoft have made patches available for all systems from Windows XP and Server 2003 onwards.


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