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It has been revealed by the government in Hong Kong that global engineering and design consultant Arup suffered a cyber-attack on its computer system in Hong Kong in March 2017, during the construction of the multibillion-dollar Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge on which it has been contracted to work.

Ransomware software encrypted a number of files on the Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong computer system for ransom from staff, with some files being locked and deleted.

However, staff immediately cut off internet connection to the server and reported the incident to the police.

The company insisted that the project is still on course, adding that private personnel information had not been compromised because it was not stored on the hacked server.

On-site engineers and contractors were promptly requested by the Highways Department to update their internet security software on the office computer networks.

Apparently bearing similarities with the mass cyber-attack that hit 150 countries on 12 May – including the UK, where parts of the NHS health system shut down – this particular attack is being treated as a case of blackmail and is being handled by the cyber security and technology crime bureau.

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