Ukrainian Cyber Attack Knocks Out WPP Networks Around the World

By Patrick Coffee 

The hackers have come for the ad industry. A “massive” cyber attack that started in Kiev, Ukraine has taken out WPP’s network around the globe. For now, at least, the holding company has effectively hit pause on operations across most offices including those in France, London and New York.

WPP confirmed this via Twitter and Facebook in an effort to get out in front of the news.

A WPP spokesperson who contacted us by phone added, “We are assessing the situation, taking appropriate measures and will update as soon as possible.”

The morning started awkwardly for the company. According to one agency executive in New York, all employees were told to log off their computers immediately as the attack had already hit the IT systems. Another source says JWT global CEO Tamara Ingram sent an email to all 10,000-plus employees under the subject line “Urgent – Shut down all computers.”

Various events have been cancelled, and there’s apparently a state of confusion among the network’s employees.

According to the many reports regarding this attack, it began in Ukraine and targeted several of that country’s largest state-run organizations, in addition to Russia’s Roseneft and Denmark’s Maersk. The virus is described as “ransomware,” with the hackers demanding unspecified payment via bitcoin from Ukrainian officials. We’ve heard that WPP’s operations in Eastern Europe were first to be affected but that the attack has since spread to offices in France and other countries, hence the security concerns in the U.S.

If we could take one positive from this development, we’ve discovered several treasure troves of hilariously awful stock images labeled “hacker” and “cyber attack.”

Insert your favorite Marcel joke here.

[Image via]