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Cyberattack forces Norsk Hydro to partially halt operations

Norwegian aluminum major Norsk Hydro ASA on March 19 reported an extensive cyberattack affecting several areas and said IT systems are compromised in most divisions.

Already beset by long-running operational suspensions in Brazil, the company had to resort to manual operations as much as possible and is working to contain and neutralize the attack, though it is still working to define the full scope of the issues.

In an update later the same day, the company said the cyberattack had not caused any safety incidents, and all plants and operations had been isolated.

Norsk Hydro closed several metal extrusion plants, which process aluminum ingots into parts for various sectors including automotive and construction. Its aluminum smelters in Norway, Qatar and Brazil are being manually operated, Reuters wrote.

The company posted a security notice March 19 at its headquarters in Oslo warning users against connecting any devices to the company network and asking them to disconnect any devices that may already be linked, Reuters reported.

Norsk Hydro, a major supplier of aluminum products to North America and Europe, said its primary aluminum plants in Norway are operating normally, though with more manual input.

The company noted that its extruded solutions and rolled products businesses are facing production challenges with several plans seeing a temporary stoppage.

The Norwegian security agency said the company was targeted by a ransomware attack named LockerGoga, Reuters reported, citing state broadcaster NRK. Typically, ransomware is malicious software designed to extort money from victims by blocking access to data or publicly releasing sensitive information.

"They'll probably have to halt pretty much everything in the short term as they work on a back-up plan. Operationally, this is distinctly challenging," Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets Ltd., was quoted as saying by Bloomberg News.