Nissan plant in Sunderland and Renault among latest businesses to confirm they have been hit in global ransomware attack

Francesca Washtell
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Nissan's Sunderland plant became a major symbol of British industry after last summer's Brexit vote (Source: Getty)

Nissan's plant in Sunderland has been affected by the global ransomware attack that has also affected the NHS and the French car maker Renault.

Nissan said it is "working to resolve the issue", though it is unclear whether the ransomware attack, a type of software which hijacks files until the company pays a ransom, has affected production at the Japanese car giant.

“Like many organisations, our UK plant was subject to a ransomware attack affecting some of our systems on Friday evening," said the spokesman, who declined to confirm media reports that production had been halted.

Read more: Nissan asks government for £100m supply chain fund after Brexit

Nissan's Sunderland plant, which employs around 7,000 people, became highly symbolic after the Brexit vote.

In October, Nissan said it would build new models at the plant.

French car maker Renault has also confirmed it was hit in the cyber assault that has infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries.

Renault is the first major French company to report being affected by the malicious malware.

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"Measures are being put in place to stop the spread of the virus; it's the first step," a spokeswoman for Renault said.

"We're seeking to have a global vision to see which sites have been affected," she added.

The hacking tool, a new variant of "WannaCry" ransomware, is believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency.

It locks users out of data on the affected computers, reportedly demanding payments of between $300 (£230) to $600 in order to access computer files again. It has been widely reported the hackers have demanded the ransom be paid in cryptocurrency bitcoin.

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It encrypts files on a user's computer, blocking them from view, before demanding money, via an on-screen message, to access them again.

There is no information on the attackers yet.

Around 40 NHS trusts and several GP practices in England and Scotland - but not Wales or Northern Ireland - have also been hit with the ransomware. Two major Indonesian hospitals, O2 owner Telefonica and postal company FedEx are among the groups, companies and individuals in 99 countries that have been infected with the malicious malware.

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