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German Automation Giant Still Down After Ransomware Attack

One of the world’s biggest producers of automation tools is still crippled over a week after it was hit by a ransomware attack.

German giant Pilz was forced to notify the prosecutor’s office and Federal Office for Security in Information Technology after suffering a targeted cyber-attack the Sunday before last.

However, despite setting up an incident response team to locate the source of the attack and resolve the disruption, it warned that outages will continue for several more days.

“Since Sunday, October 13, 2019, all server and PC workstations including the communication network of the automation company have been affected worldwide. The website is currently only partially functional,” it noted in a status update.

“As a precaution, the company has removed all computer systems from the network and blocked access to the corporate network.”

The IT disruption appears to have affected delivery of shipments and communications, although email came back online around the world on Friday. The last update from the company yesterday claimed that deliveries had restarted in “certain areas.”

It’s unclear which these are, however: Pilz operates in over 70 countries around the world, across Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

The firm offers a range of products vital to automate industrial environments, including: configurable safety controllers; programmable safety systems; safety sensors; operator and visualization systems; networks; system and application software; drive technology; integrated standard and safety automation systems.

Pilz is the latest in a long-line of large enterprises targeted by ransomware authors looking for a big ROI on attacks.

Back in March, Norsk Hydro, the world’s number one aluminium producer, was hit by the LockerGaga variant in an attack which is said to have cost the firm at least $41m. More recently, US mailing technology company Pitney Bowes and French media giant Groupe M6 were both caught out.

Ransomware detections grew 77% from the second half of 2018 to the first six months of this year, according to Trend Micro.

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