ThyssenKrupp, one of the world’s largest steel makers, said it had been targeted by attackers earlier this year
ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steel producer, has revealed that it had project data stolen earlier this year in a professional cyber-attack that most likely originated in Southeast Asia.
In breaches discovered by the company’s internal security team in April and traced back to February, hackers stole project data from ThyssenKrupp’s plant engineering division and from other areas yet to be determined.
“ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyber-attack,” the industrial conglomerate said in a statement.
Globally, cyber-attacks on banks, retailers and other businesses have led to widespread consumer and financial data losses in recent years. ThyssenKrupp’s disclosure followed last week’s attack on Deutsche Telekom routers that caused outage for nearly 1 million customers.
While revelations of industrial espionage are far rarer, estimates put the costs to businesses in the billions of dollars. China was frequently blamed for such commercial hacking attacks until the United States and China agreed not to hack each other’s businesses.
The company said it waited to publicize the attack while it identified, then cleansed infected systems in one concerted, global action before implementing new safeguards to monitor its computer systems. “It is important not to let the intruder know that he has been discovered,” a spokesman said.
According to a statement [in German] from Martin Hölze, CIO at ThyssenKrupp, the company had been the target of a ‘very professional hacker attack since February.’ The breach was executed through hidden backdoors in the IT systems which were used to gain access to the steel giant’s valuable intellectual property.
The hacker managed to steal data from two business units at ThyssenKrupp before the attack was noticed and stopped. ThyssenKrupp has reported the attack to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, but the chances of bringing the hackers to justice are negligible.
ThyssenKrupp’s revelation came a week after the attack which hit a million routers, resulting in outages for Deutsche Telekom customers (here).