Norwegian aluminium giant Norsk Hydro hit by ransomware attack

The headquarters of the Norwegian aluminium group ‘Norsk Hydro’ are pictured in Oslo, Norway on March 19, 2019. The Norwegian company Hydro’s global business is exposed to a comprehensive cyber attack that affects operations. The company switches to manual operation as far as possible. Around midnight, abnormal activity on the data servers of Norsk Hydro was discovered. The entire IT organization in the company was prepared to take measures against the attack, but in the morning hours the entire worldwide business was still under the influence of the attack. (Terje Pedersen/AFP/Getty Images)
Norwegian aluminium giant Norsk Hydro announced Tuesday that it was crippled by “an extensive cyber-attack” on its servers, forcing it to switch to manual operations in some smelting locations.

The Norwegian National Security Authority, which is in charge of cyber security in the country, said the company was hit by the LockerGoga ransomware strain.

“Hydro became victim of an extensive cyber-attack in the early hours of Tuesday (CET), impacting operations in several of the company’s business areas,” the company said.

Norsk Hydro’s IT department noticed “unusual activity” on its servers around midnight, company officials said at a press conference in Oslo.

“As the attack was spreading throughout our business, we did take measures to contain and neutralize the attack,” Eivind Kallevik, Norsk Hydro’s chief financial officer, told reporters Tuesday. “We have now isolated all our plants and operations and are switching to somewhat more manual operations and procedures as far as possible throughout the operations.”

A sign warning employees not to connect devices to the network in the wake of a cyber attack is seen at the headquarters of aluminium producer Norsk Hydro in Oslo, Norway March 19, 2019. (Gwladys Fouche/REUTERS)

Administration and production planning was affected, “causing some production challenges and temporary stoppages at several plants,” Kallevik said. Plants outside Norway did not seem to have been hit, he added.

“Let me be clear! The situation for Hydro through this is quite severe,” Kallevik said. “The entire worldwide network is down, affecting our production and our office operations.”

The company is working hard to contain and resolve the situation and to ensure the safety and security of its employees, he added.

The Norwegian National Security Authority is using its own expertise but has also reached out to allies, said Bente Hoff.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Laptop with health data stolen from Northern Canadian gov was unencrypted, CBC News

Sweden: Sweden police chief granted Canadian company access to sensitive data, Radio Sweden

United States: Unsecured database discovered with information from about 600,000 Alaska voters, Alaska Public Media

Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Armenia, Levon started his journalistic career in 1990, covering wars and civil strife in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1992, after the government in Armenia shut down the TV program he was working for, Levon immigrated to Canada. He learned English and eventually went back to journalism, working first in print and then in broadcasting. Levon’s journalistic assignments have taken him from the High Arctic to Sahara and the killing fields of Darfur, from the streets of Montreal to the snow-capped mountaintops of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. He says, “But best of all, I’ve been privileged to tell the stories of hundreds of people who’ve generously opened up their homes, refugee tents and their hearts to me.”

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