Wednesday 23 October 2019

Aluminum producer hit by outages in major cyber attack

The headquarters of aluminum producer Norsk Hydro in Oslo, Norway
The headquarters of aluminum producer Norsk Hydro in Oslo, Norway

Elena Mazneva, Jonas Cho Walsgard and Mark Burton

NORSK HYDRO, one of the world's biggest aluminium producers, suffered production outages after a ransomware attack affected operations across Europe and the US.

The Norwegian company called the situation "quite severe" and said it was still working to contain the effects of the attack. It couldn't detail how much output had been impacted, but said the so-called potlines, which process molten aluminium and need to be kept running 24 hours a day, had switched to manual mode.

Some operations at plants where metal is fashioned into finished products for use in cars, planes and other manufactured goods, have been temporarily stopped, said a spokesman.

The company is doing everything possible to fix the problem, but isn't ready to give any forecasts yet, he said. Aluminium futures were little changed on the London Metal Exchange.

On a conference call with reporters, chief financial officer Eivind Kallevik said the company didn't know the identity of the hackers and that it has cyber insurance. The shares slid 1.1pc to NKK35.44 (€3.66) by early afternoon in Oslo.

The attack is the latest to hit the commodities sector, where disruptions can quickly cascade down the supply chain.

Prior to Norsk Hydro, companies from zinc smelter Nyrstar to Saudi and Russian oil giants Aramco and Rosneft PJSC, shipping company AP Moller-Maersk and agriculture trader Archer-Daniels-Midland had been also hit by cyber attacks.

Hydro is a leading supplier of aluminium products in North American and European markets, providing highly-specialised parts to industrial customers.


Irish Independent

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