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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Boeing cyberattack hits manufacturing equipment for 787 Dreamliner, report says

Planemaker says production and deliveries are not affected

The assembly lines potentially affected by the software problem include those of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner North Charleston, South Carolina, and the 777X Composite Wing Center. Randall Hill/Reuters
The assembly lines potentially affected by the software problem include those of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner North Charleston, South Carolina, and the 777X Composite Wing Center. Randall Hill/Reuters

Boeing said it was hit by a cyberattack, following a Seattle Times report that some manufacturing equipment used to build its 787 Dreamliner and newest 777 wide-body jets could be crippled.

Aircraft production and deliveries aren’t affected, the Chicago-based planemaker said Wednesday. Some reports on the attack “are overstated and inaccurate,” said Linda Mills, a spokeswoman at Boeing’s commercial airplane division.

“Our cybersecurity operations center detected a limited intrusion of malware that affected a small number of systems,” Ms Mills said in an emailed statement. “Remediations were applied and this is not a production and delivery issue.”

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The assembly lines potentially affected by the software problem include those of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner North Charleston, South Carolina, and the 777X Composite Wing Center, the Seattle Times report indicated.

“It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone

down,” Boeing engineer Mike VanderWel wrote in a memo cited by the newspaper. Mr VanderWel said he was concerned that the virus would hit equipment used to test jetliners before they roll out of the factory for their initial flight and potentially “spread to airplane software.”

The automated spar assembly refers to a state-of-the-art new tool at Boeing. Robotic machines there lay down rows of carbon-fiber tape over what will become the 108-foot-long spar that runs down the centre of the wing for the 777X, an upgraded jetliner due to debut in 2020.

A cyberattack last year compromised companies such as FedEx and Nissan Motor and crippled parts of the UK’s state-run National Health Service.