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Cyber attack: Advertising firm WPP hit by Petya ransomware

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-06-2017 Saumya Tewari

New Delhi: WPP Plc, the world’s largest advertising company, which was affected in a global cyber attack by Petya ransomware on Tuesday, said many of its businesses are experiencing ‘no or minimal’ disruption due to it. The Indian arm of WPP Plc has also been affected by the cyber attack.

“The cyber attack has affected India as well but measures are being taken as we speak and we continue to function without any glitch,” said a person familiar with the development, requesting anonymity.

A WPP India spokesperson declined to comment.

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The network said in a statement that its operations have not been uniformly affected and issues are being addressed on a company-by-company basis.

“We are working with our IT partners and law enforcement agencies to take all appropriate precautionary measures, restore services where they have been disrupted, and keep the impact on clients, partners and our people to a minimum. Having taken steps to contain the attack, the priority now is to return to normal operations as soon as possible while protecting our systems. Many of our businesses are experiencing no or minimal disruption,” it said in the statement.

Apart from WPP India, the virus also affected operations at one of the three terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) run by transport and logistics company AP Moller-Maersk in Mumbai. At the global level, a number of companies across Europe, including pharma company Merck, Danish shipping and energy company Maersk, and Russian oil firm Rosneft among others have been affected by the cyber attack.

The virus is believed to be ransomware - a piece of malicious software that shuts down a computer system and then demands a sum of money to fix the problem.

WPP’s global website, which was inaccessible earlier, has been fixed.

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In India, WPP operates a number of agencies including GroupM (media buying), Ogilvy & Mather (creative), Burson Marsteller (public relations) and Kantar Group (consultancy) among others. The group’s Indian operations are well established in the areas of advertising; media investment management; information, insight and consultancy; public relations; branding and identity; direct, Internet and interactive. It employs over 8, 000 people across offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The agency handles some blue chip clients in the country including diversified group ITC Ltd, search giant Google, Pidilite Industries, telecom major Airtel and Tata Sky among others.

The cyber attack comes a few weeks after the WannaCry hack which affected more than 150 countries including India. The WannaCry virus targeted computers running on Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments.

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