A New Jersey appeals court ruled that a group of insurers could not use the war as an argument for denial Merck & Co Inc MRK Covering the $1.4 billion cyberattack that took place in 2017.
The court said insurers must help the pharmaceutical giant cover losses from the cyberattack that the US blamed on Russia.
The New Jersey Appellate Division judges said the NotPetya cyberattack did not involve military action and cannot be excluded from reporting under an act of war disqualification.
“The exclusion of damage caused by hostile or belligerent action by a government or jurisdiction in time of war or peace requires the inclusion of military action,” the judges wrote. “Coverage here could only be ruled out if we stretched the meaning of ‘hostile’ to its very limits.”
The 2017 NotPetya attack disrupted computer systems worldwide. Thousands of Merck computers damaged, Wall Street Journal reportedafter malware entered the pharmaceutical company’s systems through accounting software used in the company’s Ukrainian operations.
“The United States has not said, ‘NotPetya is an act of war against the United States, and we will initiate a military response,'” said Mark Mosier, an attorney for Merck, the report added.
“It was a virtual cyber nuclear attack,” Philip C. Silverberg, an attorney representing several Merck insurers, told judges in February.
Price promotion: MRK shares are up 1.04% at last check Wednesday to $118.12.