EU Largest Copper Producer Arubis Suffers Cyber Attack, IT Outage

 

The exponential growth of the Internet connectivity has led to a significant growth of cyber attack incidents often with disastrous and grievous consequences. Cyber attacks have become potentially more disastrous as our dependence on information technology increases. Cybercriminals only require a few expenses and are unconstrained by geography and distance. The difficulty to identify cybercriminals and prosecute them due to the anonymous nature of the Internet has opened a lot of opportunities for the criminals. Given that, the attacks against information technology systems for extorting ransom are very attractive and it is expected that the number and sophistication of these cyber attacks will keep growing.

Bleepingcomputer published a report highlighting a crippling cyber-attack on Europe’s leading German copper producer Arubis. Copper is a highly significant metal being widely used in producing different things, especially in electric vehicles, renewable energy production, and energy storage technology. The attack forced the conglomerate to shut down its IT systems preventing any further attack spread. The copper producer Arubis is the second largest in the world, with 6,900 employees worldwide, and claims to manufacture more than one million tonnes of copper cathodes annually. It was announced that the discontinuation of various IT systems at different locations were a precaution to prohibit damage and had not impacted production of copper. The company further assured that the production and environmental protection facilities at the smelter are fully functional and are being maintained manually without any affect to the incoming and outgoing of goods.

At the instant there is no clarity on whether the attack was large-scale ransomware attack or it was a part of an extensive operation launched against the mining and metal sector. The company is still accessing the ramifications of the cyberattack by operating with the authorities to speed up the process. The preference is to ensure the production volumes and maintain the supply of raw materials unagitated for the dispatch of finished goods. To avoid any hindrance in the manufacturing process some of the functions have been switched to manual mode for sustaining the incoming and outgoing of final products until computer assisted automation at smelters can be secured for utilization. Arubis stated that at the moment the expected time of return to normal operations is impossible to estimate. Till then, the company has institutionalized a plan of transitional solutions for alternative communication channels by employing a phone line among the company and its customers.

The preventive measures taken by Aurubis indicate a possibility of ransomware involvement in the cyberattack but the company has not yet provided any details on its cyberattack. BleepingComputer has contacted the company to learn more about the incident and is awaiting a response. Earlier one such incident on such a large scale took place when LovkerGaga forced aluminum giant Norsk Hydro to shut down its IT systems in March 2019.

The development of more innovative and effective cyberattacks defense mechanisms has been regarded as an urgent requirement in the cybersecurity community to protect the functionality and sanctity of organizations.

 

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