Today, Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian aluminium producer suffered a cyber attack on its industrial control systems rendering a sizeable proportion of their operations out of action.

According to Computing news article, “the attack is believed to be the work of environmental activists related to allegations that the company’s operations in Brazil caused environmental damage. Authorities in Brazil claim that the company’s mining operations caused contamination to water in the Para River following heavy rainfall. Norsk Hydro has denied the allegations, but was forced to cut production at its Alunorte mining facilities in Brazil.

News of the cyber attack sent the company’s shares down by almost three per cent, according to Reuters, while aluminium prices on global spot markets have edged up by just over one per cent.”

Hackers demanded ransom money from Norsk Hydro to stop the cyber attack on its IT systems, public broadcaster NRK reported on its website, citing a message sent by the Norwegian National Centre for Cybersecurity.

This is the first time a Nordic company has been targeted in this way and also one of the few times we see an attack on an industrial control operation that has an immediate impact on share value.  The attack also stimulated a global response adjustment in the market price of aluminium.

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A note warning visitors about a cyber attack is seen at the headquarters of aluminum producer Norsk Hydro in Oslo, Norway March 19, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Terje Pedersen via REUTERS

Official declaration of the attack on the company’s website.