Norsk Hydro, the largest aluminum producer in the world, came across Wednesday with a large-scale cyber-attack that hit parts of its production line, causing its share to drop and a rise in the price of aluminum.
The company shut down some of its facilities, where aluminum is turned into parts for automotive and other industrial sectors, while its major foundries in countries such as Norway, Qatar and Brazil were operated manually.
According to Reuters, the attack began on Monday night and escalated, hitting Hydro’s IT systems over a wide range of activities, forcing staff to make social media updates.
The Norwegian NSA, responsible for cyber security, said the attack was using a virus known as LockerGoga, a relatively new kind of ransomware that encrypts computer files and requires payment to unlock them.
The NRK public station reported, citing NNSA, that hackers requested money from Hydro to end the attack, but the company did not confirm it. This malware is not widely used by groups of cybercriminals, researchers said, but has been linked to an attack against French Altran Technologies in January.
In a statement, the company said efforts were being made to limit the attack, but the full extent of the situation is not yet known. However, she underlined that the security of her staff had not been affected and it was too early to assess the impact on her clients.
As Reuters notes, this is a rare case of an attack on industry in Norway. The latest known cyber-attack in the country was against the Visma software company when hackers -allegedly linked to Chinese intelligence- broke their network to steal data for its customers.
According to the BBC, the company’s website had fallen, but Facebook updates continued, while at the entrances of some of its facilities there had been posted messages to employees not to enter their computers. Instead, the company’s staff (which employs more than 35,000 workers in 40 countries) uses cell phones and tablets to get into their emails, according to company chief financial officer Aldi Kalevik. In other factories, printed lists of orders are used as there is no data retrieval from computers.