A number of large blue chip industrial firms in Germany have confirmed a media report that they have been subjected to cyber-attack.
The report from public broadcaster ARD suggested that the likely culprits was a state-backed Chinese hacking group that targetted firms such as BASF, Siemens, Henkel, and Roche.
BASF and Henkel are chemical giants, Siemens makes power generating kit among other things, and Roche is a drug company.
According to Reuters, these firms confirmed that the report from public broadcaster ARD that BASF, Siemens, Henkel along with a host of others had suffered a cyber attack was correct.
The hackers reportedly used a type of malware called Winnti, which allows attackers to remotely access a victim’s computer network.
ARD reported that an analysis of the malware code showed which companies were targeted by a group likely working for the Chinese government.
Other firms were also hit, including hotels group Marriott, airline Lion Air, conglomerate Sumitomo, and chemicals group Shin-Etsu.
All of the firms identified said that no sensitive information had been lost, while none of the companies commented on whether the attacks had been launched by Chinese hackers.
In April this year security officials at the German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences giant Bayer AG reported that they detected and then contained a cyber attack.
The hackers using the Winnti malware, had apparently gained access to Bayer’s network in early 2018 by using malware to spy on the company.
But security teams at Bayer reportedly detected the intrusion and covertly monitored it for over a year.
The Winnti hackers are thought to be a group of hackers based in China, and they started life by hacking computer games companies (mostly in Asia), stealing vital data such as games’ source code
A report from RiskIQ just released revealed that cybercrime is costing the global economy £2.3 million per minute.
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