Boeing Rapidly Plays Down “Hysteria” After WannaCry Ransomware Attack

Earlier today, Boeing was hit by the WannaCry computer ransomware virus, prompting a memo from the company’s chief engineer, Mike VanderWel, calling for “all hands on deck,” which sparked widespread concerns:

It is metastasizing rapidly out of North Charleston and I just heard 777 (automated spar assembly tools) may have gone down,” VanderWel wrote,

…adding his concern that the virus could hit equipment used in functional tests of airplanes ready to roll out and potentially “spread to airplane software.”

His concerns were likely well intentioned since, as a reminder, in May of last year, in what was described as one of the “worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind,” the WannaCry ransomware virus spread across the globe at an alarming rate, seizing control of private networks, locking users out of their computers until they pay a fee, sometimes in cryptocurrency, or other type of ransom.

As a reminder, those pesky “Russian hackers,” the same ones that lay relatively dormant for years then suddenly emerged from hibernation in 2016 to hack the DNC, John Podesta and the entire 2016 U.S. presidential election, were initially considered to be the most likely culprits for the WannaCry virus. But after a short time, Russians and North Koreans were dismissed as hackers centered on Chinese-speaking individuals as responsible.

Given VanderWel’s initial reaction, the attack triggered widespread alarm within the company.

VanderWel’s message said the attack required “a battery-like response,” a reference to the 787 in-flight battery fires in 2013 that grounded the world’s fleet of Dreamliners and led to an extraordinary three-month-long engineering effort to find a fix.

“We are on a call with just about every VP in Boeing,” VanderWel’s memo said.

But, desperate to quell the initial concerns, as The Seattle Times reports, by late Wednesday afternoon however, Boeing issued a statement dialing back those fears.

“Our cybersecurity operations center detected a limited intrusion of malware that affected a small number of systems,” Boeing said.

“Remediations were applied and this is not a production and delivery issue.”

In other words, ‘nothing to see here, move along as Linda Mills, a spokeswoman at Boeing’s commercial airplane division, said some reports on the attack “are overstated and inaccurate.”

Finally, The Seattle Times  pointed out that Mitchell Edwards, a Dallas, Texas-based cyberthreat intelligence analyst, said that although a so-called “kill switch” fix for the WannaCry virus was quickly developed, other hackers were also quick to produce WannaCry variants that could defeat the fix. He said the virus used to attack Boeing was unlikely to be the original WannaCry virus but an updated version.

Once the news broke, some on social media raised the “nightmare scenario” of the virus infecting an airplane’s control software and possibly triggering a ransomware demand while in the air.

Edwards dismissed this as “hysteria.”

“The plane would have to have been connected to an infected system.,” he said.

“The chances are pretty minimal.”

Of course, we will not hold our breath waiting for Rep. Adam Schiff to demand a prob into this ‘potentially terrifying’ cyberattack, likely suggesting that The Russians did it.

However, given that it was Chinese individuals believed to be responsible last time and Washington is currently at (trade) war with Beijing, the timing of the cyberattack on one of America’s biggest exporters is intriguing.

Julian Assange’s Internet Access Cut Off By Ecuador

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Let’s get right to it. Earlier today, Julian Assange had his internet access severed.

Here’s a translation of the statement from the government of Ecuador, in whose embassy he’s been trapped since 2012:

The Government of Ecuador suspended the systems that allow Julian Assange to communicate with the outside world from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the citizen remains in an international protection situation for six years due to the risk to his life and integrity.

The measure was adopted in the face of Assange’s failure to comply with the written commitment it assumed with the Government at the end of 2017, for which it was obliged not to issue messages that implied interference with other States.

The Government of Ecuador warns that the behavior of Assange, with its messages through social networks, puts at risk the good relations that the country maintains with the United Kingdom, with the rest of the States of the European Union and other nations. Therefore, to prevent potential damage, the embassy in London interrupted this March 27 communications abroad to which Assange has access.

The Executive also keeps open the way to the adoption of new measures in the face of breach of commitment by Assange.

The excuse for this egregious act against Assange is his social media activity “puts at risk the good relations that the country maintains with the United Kingdom, with the rest of the States of the European Union and other nations.”

Naturally, we must ask what Assange has been tweeting about lately that prompted some bigger country, or countries, to force Ecuador’s hand.

The answer is Catalonia.

I’ve been following Assange’s tweets closely following the revelation that German police seized Catalonia’s elected President Carles Puigdemont on behalf of Spain. Assange provided some much needed context and commentary about the disturbing incident over Twitter in recent days. Here are a few examples that likely ruffled the feathers of various EU governments.

The tweets above were quite informative, especially to someone like me who’s a U.S. citizen and had no understanding of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and its obvious potential for abuse. Clearly, the government of Spain (and possibly Germany & the UK) put an enormous amount of pressure on Ecuador behind the scenes since they don’t like it when people with large platforms challenge their silly, authoritarian narratives.

The fact these governments are so terrified of a guy holed up in an embassy tweeting his political opinions tells you how weak and insecure these governments really are. The first word that popped into my mind when I heard the news wasn’t outrageous, although it is outrageous. The very first word that came to mind was pathetic. The Spanish state is acting like a petty two-bit dictator that can’t handle some Twitter criticism. Embarrassing. Pathetic. Deranged.

Strong and confident nation-states don’t react like this, insecure and weak ones do. Which brings me to the next point. This ridiculous episode furthers my confidence that the massive centralized nation-states that dominate the world today will collapse and be restructured. It no longer makes sense to organize human affairs in such a centralized manner, particularly in our age of technological interconnectivity and instant access to information.

When individuals or nation-states gain too much power they always end up acting like abusive thugs. Humanity must shift away from monstrously centralized governance structures and restore sovereignty to a more local level. The pendulum has swung way too far in the authoritarian direction, and the results are clear. A loss of freedom, rampant corruption and zero accountability for “elites.” Julian Assange is simply the canary in the coal-mine for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, what else in going on in the world? Well there’s this…

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