Security Experts:

Aircraft Parts Maker ASCO Severely Hit by Ransomware

Belgium-based aircraft parts maker ASCO Industries has been severely hit by a ransomware attack that started last week.

Founded in 1954, ASCO has four manufacturing plants in Belgium, the US, Canada and Germany, and it employs 1,500 people. The company’s products are used by most aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. ASCO was taken over last year by US-based Spirit AeroSystems.

According to media reports, ASCO’s machines were infected with an unidentified piece of ransomware on Friday and the company has been having trouble restoring operations.

The incident has reportedly disrupted the company’s ability to supply products to customers and impacted roughly 1,000 employees, which have been placed on temporary leave.

SecurityWeek has reached out to ASCO for clarifications, but the firm has yet to respond. ASCO representatives said the attackers don’t appear to have stolen any information.

“The attack against ASCO has once again highlighted the dangerous power of ransomware. The attack has brought operations to a halt and resulted in over a thousand employees being sent home which will be having a significant impact on the organisation financially,” Andrea Carcano, CPO and co-founder of Nozomi Networks, told SecurityWeek.

“When it comes to ransomware, prevention is always better than cure as, if infected, it is never advisable to pay the ransom as it is not guaranteed that the criminals will honour the agreement and restore systems/data. Organisations should prepare for these types of events and have an incident response plan in place to help limit the damage caused, not only to production but also to customer trust and brand reputation,” Carcano added.

Several important organizations have been hit by ransomware over the past year, including Eurofins Scientific, COSCO, Norsk Hydro, the UK Police Federation, and Aebi Schmidt.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.