ThyssenKrupp's technical trade secrets stolen in massive hack

Asian hackers were able to steal the information in an organised attack

German steel maker ThyssenKrupp has revealed its technical trade secrets have been stolen in a cyber attack on its systems.

The company's own investigations revealed southeast Asian hackers were the primary suspects, launching a highly organised and professional attack on the organisation.

ThyssenKrupp uncovered the attacks in April, although the criminal activity apparently happened in February and involved the hackers stealing project data from the company's plant engineering division and other areas of its business.

"According to our analyses, the aim was essentially to steal technological know-how and research from some areas of Business Area Industrial Solutions as well as Business Area Steel Europe (espionage)," a ThyssenKrupp spokesperson said in a statement.

"Specially secured IT systems for especially critical have not been concerned (e.g IT of Business Unit Marine Systems or production IT of blast furnaces and power plants in Duisburg). The same is true for the other productions systems and processes in the Group as well as for the quality of the products and services of ThyssenKrupp."

The company added that there had been no evidence of sabotage and no signs that any hacker tried to manipulate data, applications or any other resources.

However, German business magazine Wirtschafts Woche claimed the attacks specifically targeted ThyssenKrupp's production plants in areas of Europe, India, Argentina and the US.

"The attack was discovered, continuously observed and analysed by ThyssenKrupps CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team). Chief Information Officers of all Business Areas have been involved," the company added.

"The attacked IT systems have been revised. Since then, all of ThyssenKrupps IT systems are being controlled for new attempted attacks (24/7 monitoring)."

Authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany are investigating the attacks and are keeping state and federal cyber security and data protection authorities in the loop.

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