Europe's Biggest Copper Producer Hit by Cyber-Attack

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The world’s second largest copper producer has been hit by a cyber-attack which forced IT systems offline.

Hamburg-headquartered Aurubis revealed in a brief statement that the attack struck on Friday evening.

“This was apparently part of a larger attack on the metals and mining industry,” it said. “As a result, numerous systems at Aurubis sites had to be shut down and disconnected from the internet as a preventive measure.”

It’s unclear exactly what the impact has been on production. Aurubis claims to produce over one million tons of copper cathodes each year and is the world’s largest recycler of the metal.

Copper is an increasingly important metal, used among other things in renewable energy production, electric vehicles and energy storage technologies.

“The primary goal is to keep production and the procurement of raw materials as well as the delivery of metals and products running. However, Aurubis is not yet able to provide any information on when the systems will be fully functional again,” its statement concluded.

“The production and environmental protection facilities at the smelter sites are running, and incoming and outgoing goods are also being maintained manually. Transitional solutions are being implemented to make the company's full services available to business partners again starting next week. Customers and suppliers can still reach their Aurubis contacts by phone.”

It's unclear what the “larger attack” on the metals industry was, but the steps taken by Aurubis are similar to those taken when organizations find ransomware on their networks.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) claimed in a new report published last week that cyber-threat levels from June 2021 to May 2022 were higher than they’ve ever been in the country.

It named ransomware as the biggest threat, citing one municipality that had to declare a disaster after being compromised during the period; the first time in the country’s history a cyber-attack has had such an impact.

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