NotPetya's impact on NZ firms

The latest cyber virus has hit Ports of Auckland and is causing delays to shipping operations.

Global shipping company Maersk is affected by the NotPetya cyber attack, and has shut down globally to prevent exposure to the ransomware.

Initially reported as a variant on the Petya ransomware which emerged in March 2016, the virus isn't your usual ransomware. Paying the ransom doesn't unlock affected computers, and the virus tries to wipe computers clean.

It was rebranded as 'NotPetya' by security company Kaspersky Lab to differentiate it from the previous version of the virus, which carried out a traditional ransomware attack.

Spokesman Matt Ball says Ports of Auckland has security measures in place to deal with the incident.

"Maersk Line has been hit by a cyber attack, which has meant they've had to close down all of their IT systems, and that makes it very difficult for them to communicate with ports like ourselves," he told Newshub.

"They're doing this at the moment through Gmail, and setting up secondary backdoor systems, if you like."

The first affected Maersk vessel will be in Auckland on Friday, with another following in Sunday.

Mr Ball says it's difficult to gage what financial impact NotPetya will have on the company. Tech expert Paul Brislen says the virus is having a significant effect.

"The whole chain of events breaks down - we're going to end up with ships being unloaded and then unpacked so they can figure out what's in each container," he told The AM Show.

"It's going to take a lot of time."

Cadbury has also been hit, with owner Mondelez saying it luckily hasn't hit their soon-to-be-shuttered Dunedin factory.

In Australia the virus did manage to shut down production at a chocolate-making factory.

Auckland law firm DLA Piper has also reported being affected, telling clients on Thursday morning it is working "to bring our systems back online as quickly and safely as possible".

"Our clients are our utmost priority and we are working closely with them to ensure we maintain service. There is no evidence to suggest any client data has been affected."

DLA Piper said clients should call staff directly, if they can't get through via email.

US delivery firms FedEx and TNT Express are among large firms that have been hit worldwide.