Overseas cyberattack hits Western Washington

SEATTLE – A European cyberattack had ripples all the way to Western Washington on Tuesday as systems at two prominent international companies crashed and failed.

APM Terminals in the Port of Tacoma had limited operations because its parent company, shipping titan Maersk, was corrupted.

The attack came from ransomware with varying names, such as Petya, Notpetya and GoldenEye.

No matter the name, the goal was the same: To get a target to open a file or click a link and then lock down the computer and force a ransom.

“A cyberattack on one is a cyberattack on all,” said UW-Bothell professor Barbara Endicott-Popovsky.

Endicott-Popovsky said ransomware is becoming more common and has clear intent.

“There's a popup that says you've been encrypted, and if you want to un-encrypt your files, you have to pay money,” she said.

Because of the international connections, APM had to rely on backup plans and some personal cell phones to connect with overseas colleagues.

Global law firm DLA Piper had phone systems go down in Seattle and was unreachable.

Endicott-Popovsky suggests that it is best to keep anti-virus software updated, but to also be comfortable with simply deleting odd emails and attachments.

The risks aren’t worth it.

“It gets turned into a brick," she said. "It's basically useless.”