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German Auto and Defense Firm Rheinmetall Says Malware Hit Several Plants

Germany-based car parts and defense solutions provider Rheinmetall announced on Thursday that production at its automotive plants in the United States, Brazil and Mexico was disrupted as a result of a malware attack.

The attack involved an unnamed piece of malware and it started on the evening of September 24. The company said the incident resulted in “significant disruptions” at the plants where the malware made it into IT systems.

The company believes that it will take between two and four weeks to recover from the attack and it estimates that the incident will result in losses ranging between €3 million ($3.3 million) and €4 million ($4.4 million) per week starting with the second week. The company has assured customers that it will be able to deliver orders in the short term.

The incident reminds of some recent attacks that involved file-encrypting ransomware, but the company has refused to confirm or deny this theory. SecurityWeek has reached out to Rheinmetall to find out more about the malware and the number of impacted systems, but the company says it’s currently not providing any additional information beyond the announcement on its website.

“The attack focused on systems in the Americas (US, Mexico, Brazil) and only on Automotive systems. No other system outside this region and in the Defence segment is currently affected,” a company spokesperson said via email.

The company’s shares went down after the breach was disclosed.

The list of major manufacturers hit by ransomware in recent months includes Norwegian metals and energy giant Norsk Hydro, which reported losses of up to $41 million as a result of the attack, Belgium-based aircraft parts maker ASCO Industries, and Swiss-based special-purpose vehicle maker Aebi Schmidt.

Related: Ransomware Causes Disruptions at Johannesburg Power Company

Related: Major U.S. Chemical Firms Hit by Cyberattack

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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.