ThyssenKrupp secrets stolen in 'massive' cyber attack

Thu Dec 8, 2016 11:53am EST
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By Eric Auchard and Tom Käckenhoff

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Technical trade secrets were stolen from the steel production and manufacturing plant design divisions of ThyssenKrupp AG (TKAG.DE: Quote) in cyber attacks earlier this year, the German company said on Thursday.

ThyssenKrupp, one of the world's largest steel makers, said it had been targeted by attackers located in southeast Asia engaged in what it said were "organized, highly professional hacker activities".

In breaches discovered by the company's internal security team in April and traced back to February, hackers stole project data from ThyssenKrupp's plant engineering division and from other areas yet to be determined.

"ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyber attack," the industrial conglomerate said in a statement.

Globally, cyber attacks on banks, retailers and other businesses have led to widespread consumer and financial data losses in recent years. ThyssenKrupp's disclosure followed last week's attack on Deutsche Telekom routers that caused outage for nearly 1 million customers.

While revelations of industrial espionage are far rarer, estimates put the costs to businesses in the billions of dollars. China was frequently blamed for such commercial hacking attacks until the United States and China agreed not to hack each other's businesses (

German business magazine Wirtschafts Woche reported the attacks hit sites in Europe, India, Argentina and the United States run by the Industrial Solutions division, which builds large production plants. The Hagen Hohenlimburg specialty steel mill in western Germany was also targeted, the report added.

The company declined to identify specific locations which were infected or speculate on likely suspects. It said it could not estimate the scale of the intellectual property losses.   Continued...

The logo of German steel-to-elevators group ThyssenKrupp AG is pictured during the company's annual news conference in Essen, Germany, November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay