March 19, 2019

Leading aluminium producer Norsk Hydro hit by cyberattack

By Luke Christou

Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s leading aluminium producers, has been targeted by an “extensive” cyberattack, which has forced the company to suspend some production operations in Europe and the United States.

The company has admitted that its IT systems in “most business areas” have been impacted by the attack, which occurred in the early hours of the morning.

According to a statement published on the Oslo Stock Exchange, the company is working hard to end the threat and resume normal operation. However, the company has admitted that it “does not yet know the full extent of the situation”.

Norway’s National Security Authority (NSM) is working with Hydro to determine whether the attack will spread or continue, but so far hasn’t detected any further suspicious activity.

Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research and BMO Capital Markets, told Bloomberg that the company will “probably have to halt pretty much everything in the short term as they work on a back-up plan”.

However, Norsk Hydro has resorted to manually operating some processes, such as its primary production potlines. By continuing to operate these electrically-connected smelting cells, the company is unlikely to experience production delays that could see aluminium prices rise and the stock market react.

Norsk Hydro cyberattack: A growing threat in the metal industry

The cyberattack on Norsk Hydro follows a number of similar attacks on the industry. Container shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S was targeted by cyber criminals last year, resulting in as much as $300m worth of damage. Likewise, Swiss Zinc producer Nyrstar suffered an attack on its mining and processing operations last month.

With the industry increasingly investing in digital, connected and automated systems, the risk of suffering a cyberattack has significantly increased.

The industry has invested in cybersecurity in an attempt to curb cyberattacks, with 53% having increased their cybersecurity budget in the past 12 months according to EY. However, 97% still admit that their cybersecurity operations still do not fully protect the company.


Read more: Cybersecurity breach pay: CEOs get pay rises following an attack while shareholders lose out


 

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