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NotPetya Attack Costs Big Companies Millions

Some of the big companies hit by the NotPetya malware in late June have reported losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to the cyberattack.

The NotPetya malware outbreak affected tens of thousands of systems in more than 65 countries, including ones belonging to major organizations such as Rosneft, AP Moller-Maersk, Merck, FedEx, Mondelez International, Nuance Communications, Reckitt Benckiser and Saint-Gobain. Many of the victims were located in Ukraine, the home of a tax software firm whose product was used as the main attack vector.

Researchers initially believed NotPetya (aka PetrWrap, exPetr, GoldenEye and Diskcoder.C) was a piece of ransomware, similar to WannaCry. However, a closer analysis revealed that it was actually a wiper and it was unlikely that victims could recover their files, even if they paid the ransom.

Financial reports published by the affected companies in the past few weeks show that the cyberattack has caused serious damage in many cases. FedEx-owned international delivery services company TNT Express, for instance, said there was a possibility that some business data may never be recovered.

Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk estimates that the attack has cost it $200-$300 million. The conglomerate believes the cyberattack will have a significant impact on its finances in the third quarter due to revenue lost in July.

American pharmaceutical giant Merck had still been working on restoring operations in late July. In its latest financial results announcement, the firm said the cyberattack had disrupted its worldwide operations, including manufacturing, research and sales, but did not specify the exact losses caused by the incident.

Reckitt Benckiser, the British consumer goods company that makes Nurofen, Dettol and Durex, said the attack disrupted its ability to manufacture and distribute products. It estimated that the incident could have an impact of $130 million on its revenue.

Voice and language solutions provider Nuance Communications reported GAAP revenue of $486.2 million and non‑GAAP revenue of $495.6 million in the third quarter. The company estimates that the third-quarter GAAP revenues would have been $501.6 million and non-GAAP revenues $511.0 million had the malware incident not taken place. Nuance said its healthcare business was the most impacted.

Mondelez International, owner of U.K. chocolate maker Cadbury, estimated the cost of the attack at just over $150 million in lost sales and incremental expenses. The company, whose sales, distribution and financial networks were impacted by the malware, expects the recovery process to continue into the second half of 2017.

French construction giant Saint-Gobain said the attack led to donwtime of IT systems and supply chain disruptions. The NotPetya attack has had a negative impact of €220 million ($258 million) on sales and €65 million ($76 million) on operating income in the first half of 2017. Until the end of the year, total losses are expected to rise to €330 million ($387 million).

German consumer goods provider Beiersdorf was also hit by the attack and while it expects sales worth roughly €35 million ($41 million) to be shifted from the second quarter to the third, the company does not expect a material impact on its profits for this year.

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.