Hackers are at it again — seeking to disrupt industrial production and cause economic damage in the West through ransomware cyber attacks.
In the latest case, the giant Norwegian aluminum manufacturer Norsk Hydro was hit with a cyberattack that forced it to shut down some plants and operate others manually. These attacks are a far cry from the “election meddling” that has come to dominate our public perception of foreign interference. Rather, they are causing significant direct and indirect financial harm to the targets.
Aluminum prices rose to a 3-month high when news of the attack became public, while Norsk Hyrdo’s stock fell 3.4%.
It’s not yet clear who the perpetrators of the cyberattack were, or whether they succeeded in extracting a ransom payment from Norsk Hyrdo to “unlock” the hacked systems.
“Other cyber attacks have downed electricity grids and transport systems in recent years, and an attack on Italian oil services firm Saipem late last year destroyed more than 300 of the company’s computers.”Reuters UK
Global aluminum production is dominated by just a few companies, with the 2 largest in China and Russia, and production problems can quickly escalate into disruptions of the global supply chain.