Cyberattack Hits French Automaker Renault

The hack disrupted alarms at a factory in northern France and displayed a demand for $300 in ransom on the plant's monitors.

A French automaker is one of the most prominent victims of a massive cyberattack sweeping across the globe.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the ransomware attack, named "WannaCry," effectively took over a Renault factory in Sandouville, France, early Saturday morning.

The hack affected the facility's alarm systems and displayed a demand for $300 in ransom on the plant's monitors — threatening to delete the facility's files without payment. Renault shut down factories across Europe in response.

“Everyone was running around, saying we’ve been hacked,” Mohamed Amri, a parts maker at the Sandouville plant, told the paper. "It spread like wildfire.”

The plant's assembly lines remained shut down Saturday but were expected to reopen on Monday. Union officials reportedly indicated that the interruption affected the production of about 100 vehicles.

The ransomware reportedly affected at least 150 countries and is considered to be the most high-profile such attack in nearly a decade. The U.K.'s National Health Service was among the targets, as were U.S. parcel giant FedEx, Japanese conglomerate Hitachi and Russia's banking systems.

Officials said that the attack was also likely to expand to new networks as people returned to work Monday.

“This is something we haven’t seen before. The global reach is unprecedented,” Rob Wainwright, who heads the European Union's law enforcement arm Europol, told U.K. television, according to the Journal.

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