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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 06:06

Norwegian aluminium firm goes manual after Windows ransomware attack

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Norwegian aluminium firm goes manual after Windows ransomware attack Pixabay

Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk Hydro has been under what it describes as "an extensive cyber attack" that has affected several areas of the company's operations. The malware affecting the firm is believed to the LockerGoga ransomware that attacks Windows systems.

The attack began late on Monday evening, the firm said. Norway is 10 hours behind AEDT.

The company posted a detailed account of its travails on Facebook, saying that it had isolated all plants and operations and was switching to manual operations and procedures to the extent possible.

The firm's chief financial officer, Eivind Kallevik told the media: “This is a classic ransomware attack. The situation is quite severe.”

He said the company had no plans to pay the ransom demanded but would restore all the locked files from back-up servers.

“We have good back-up systems and we have plans on how to restore it,” he said.

Kallevik said the financial impact was limited thus far. “It is mostly direct labour: some of the activities that we use computers to do, today we use manual labour. We have to add some more people."

Commenting on the ransomware attack, Tyler Moffitt, a senior threat research analyst at security outfit Webroot, said: "LockerGoga is a new ransomware variant that appears to be targeting European companies. So far the notable victims have been Altran in France (25 January) and Norsk Hydro in Norway (past 24 hours).

"The encryption process used by LockerGoga is slow because it creates a new process each times it encrypts a new file and also exhibits no detection evasion techniques, showing a lack of sophistication.

"LockerGoga was signed using a valid digital certificate which has since been revoked."

Moffitt said he expected LockerGoga to become a big player in the ransomware scene and would monitor its progress.

Norsk Hydro employees 36,000 people in 40 countries and reported a profit of 4.3 billion Norwegian crowns (US$505 million) in 2018, with sales topping out at 159.4 billion Norwegian crowns.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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