The Germany-based copper producer Aurubis recently announced that it has been hit by a targeted cyberattack that resulted in it being forced to shut down its IT systems. The initiative was necessary to prevent the cyberattack from spreading throughout the EU industry leader’s network.

Aurubis is not only Europe’s largest producer of copper it is also the second largest operator for the sector globally. Its statistics show that it employs a staff of around 6,900 worldwide, and currently produces approximately a million tonnes worth of copper cathodes per annum.

Systems down at Aurubis

In a recent announcement that Aurubis published on its official website, the producer stated that its teams had shut down a range of systems at its locations to inhibit the spread of infection. However, it added that Aurubis’s production levels had not been impacted by the necessary steps.

The Aurubis statement read:

“The production and environmental protection facilities at the smelter sites are running, and incoming and outgoing goods are also being maintained manually.”

According to the producer, it is now assessing the consequences of the cyberattack, and working closely alongside the authorities with the aim of speeding up its investigation into the event.

Actions following a cyber attack

The company’s priority is presently to maintain its production volumes at their normal level and to keep the supply of raw materials as well as the delivery of all finished products undisturbed.

As a result, some Aurubis operations have now reverted to a manual mode to maintain the steady flow of both outgoing and incoming goods for as long as necessary, until the company’s cutting-edge and computer-assisted automation can returns at its smelting operations.

The producer has stated that, at present, it is impossible to predict how long it will be for the entirety of its systems to be returned to normal operational status.

Until this occurs, there is a plan in the works to put in place transitional solutions that can effectively provide both Aurubis and its customer base with an alternative channel for communications. However, at present the only method of reaching to copper production giant is over the phone.

Experts have commented that the details listed above share many common signs of a dedicated ransomware attack, but at this time Aurubis has not issued any specific details on the nature of its recent cyberattack. Despite this, the company has stated that the cyberattack is one part in a larger attack aimed at the world’s mining and metals industry. The copper giant will be hoping that the results of this attack are dealt with quickly to prevent any further loss of business.

This is not the first strike on a large metal producer in recent years. Back in March of 2019, Norsk Hydro, the Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy giant was the target of a disruptive ransomware attack. The LockerGoga ransomware group was behind the hit which resulted in the Oslo-headquartered metal producer being required to shut down its dedicated IT systems impacting its global operations.