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Copper Giant Aurubis Shuts Down Systems Due to Cyberattack

Aurubis, a Germany-based company that is the largest copper producer in Europe and the largest copper recycler in the world, shut down some systems last week due to a cyberattack.

Aurubis said on Friday that the attack was discovered during the night of October 28. Hackers targeted its IT systems and the company believes it was part of a larger operation targeting the metals and mining sector.

The copper giant has shut down and disconnected many systems at its sites as a precaution, but said production and environmental protection facilities at smelter sites are still running, and incoming and outgoing goods are being maintained manually. Suppliers and customers can still reach the company via phone.

“The primary goal is to keep production and the procurement of raw materials as well as the delivery of metals and products running. However, Aurubis is not yet able to provide any information on when the systems will be fully functional again,” the company said.

Based on Aurubis’ brief description of the incident, the cyberattack may have involved ransomware. It’s possible that cybercriminals encrypted files on compromised systems and also stole data that they will use to pressure the organization into paying a ransom.

SecurityWeek has checked the leak websites of several major ransomware groups, but did not find any mention of Aurubis. We have reached out to Aurubis for additional information.

Industrial companies continue to be targeted by ransomware gangs and the manufacturing sector has paid the highest ransoms.

Industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos reported last week that of the 88 ransomware attacks it observed against manufacturing organizations in the third quarter of 2022, a dozen targeted the metal products subsector. In addition, the company saw one attack aimed at a mining company during the same period.

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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.