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One of the world’s biggest steelmakers may have lost industry secrets to hackers

thyssenkrupp hack industrial espionage
ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe

European steel conglomerate ThyssenKrupp has confirmed that it was the victim of a significant cyber attack earlier this year. It’s thought that the hack was carried out in connection with industrial espionage, as the attackers were reportedly looking to steal trade secrets from the company.

“According to our analyses, the aim was essentially to steal technological know-how and research from some areas of Business Area Industrial Solutions,” read a statement posted to the company’s website. “There have been no signs of sabotage and no signs of manipulation of data and applications or other sabotage.”

We typically think of the threat of being hacked on a personal level, such as the theft of bank details or unauthorized logins to our online accounts. However, given the way big business relies on the internet to facilitate day-to-day operations, it’s perhaps of little surprise that major corporations would be targeted by hackers.

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The attack is thought to have taken place in February, and was discovered by the company in April, according to a report from Hot For Security. ThyssenKrupp’s Computer Emergency Response Team was called into action, and since then the company’s IT systems have apparently been monitored constantly.

ThyssenKrupp hasn’t offered any information regarding who is thought to have carried out the hack, but it has noted that it was a “professional attack,” and that it has been traced back to the region of Southeast Asia. The company also states that there is currently no way of gauging how much intellectual property was taken, outside of confirming that certain fragments of data were indeed stolen.

As per its statement, ThyssenKrupp maintains that the attack wasn’t a result of security deficiencies or human error on the part of its staff. After underscoring the difficulties involved in preventing this kind of hack, the declaration states that “early detection and timely countermeasures” were crucial factors in the firm’s ability to respond to the breach.