WPP Advertising Group of Companies Hit by Cyberattack, Suspends Operation
Martin Sorrell’s highly successful global advertising/marketing services group of companies, WPP Group today came under severe cyber-attack when hacker accessed the system paralyzing the group’s activities.
WPP Group according to agency reports has been thrown into chaos by a cyber-attack which an internal Y&R memo claims, is causing the company to suspend work on desktops and PCs.
The attack appeared to strike agencies across WPP, but it wasn’t clear whether all agencies were affected, though tweets indicate Ogilvy has been affected. “Ogilvy currently under a large cyber-attack. Just been told to shut down all Macs and PC’s, ransom demands the works. Fun times,” tweeted @swhiteley.
As of 11:30 a.m., WPP’s website displayed a message that it was currently unavailable “due to important routine maintenance.” The company tweeted that “IT systems in several WPP companies have been affected by a suspected cyber-attack. We are taking appropriate measures & will update asap.”
A later memo from Y&R said, “As a precaution, WPP is mandating that everyone immediately shut down all computers, both Macs and PCs. This applies to you whether you are in the office or elsewhere. Working on an office computer remotely is not an option. Please leave your computers turned off until you hear from us again. ”
A company spokesman told Ad Age to monitor its Twitter page for further information.
Efforts to find out if the disaster affected affiliates of the group in Nigeria proved abortive. While the Ogilvy brand is presently hemorrhaging in the market, a mail sent to Celey Okogun, MD/CEO, Novel Porter Y & R Nigeria, an affiliate of the Young & Rubicam, another WPP company, was yet to be acknowledged or replied as at the time of filing this report. Likewise, no response could be obtained from LTC JWT Lagos.
Since the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN’s closing in on Scanad Group in Nigeria, the Bharat Thakrat led group which has the franchise for most of the WPP brands in most African markets including Nigeria, has had its operation put on hold owing to legal tussle between the association and the African network. Therefore, most of the WPP agency brands are lying fallow in the country.
Apart from WPP, the world’s biggest marketing services company, Financial Times’ report indicates that AP Moller-Maersk, world’s largest container shipping company; Rosneft, Russian Energy Company and Merck, US pharmaceutical company, all have confirmed that they have been hit by a large-scale cyber-attack. These multifaceted attacks also affected critical government and bank infrastructure in Ukraine offline on Tuesday.
According to FT, the ransomware attack bears similarities to WannaCry, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries last month, quoting cyber security experts. “No one has yet claimed responsibility for the latest cyber-attack” FT added.
With agency reports Adage.com, Financial Times’ ft.com