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Aircraft Component Maker ASCO Hit by Ransomware, Shuts Down Global Production

Luana PASCU

June 14, 2019

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Aircraft Component Maker ASCO Hit by Ransomware, Shuts Down Global Production

Belgian company ASCO Industries, a key leader in manufacturing components for both civilian and military planes, fell victim to a ransomware attack on June 7 that shut down production around the world, writes ZDNet. With all IT systems incapacitated, some 1,000 of 1,400 employees were sent home.

“Employees of the Asco company in Zaventem are technically unemployed for a few days because the company”s servers have been hacked. The company confirms that it has been hit by a cyberattack since Friday. A complaint has been submitted to the police,” writes VRT (Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting Organization) [as per Google Translate]. “The public prosecutor says there are traces of “ransomware” found on the computers, with hackers asking ransom to re-release the blocked computers.”

The company has plants in Belgium, Germany, Canada and the US, as well as office representation in Brazil and France. A week later, the plants are still closed and an investigation by external experts seeks to determine the actual damage caused. The infection occurred at the production plant in Belgium, but the plants in the rest of the locations were shut down as a precaution to prevent the ransomware from spreading across the entire network.

ASCO Industries manufactures airplane parts for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and the new F-35 fighter plane.

The company declined to comment on the status of the malware infection, whether ransom will be paid to restore the systems or when activity will be resumed.

“We have informed all competent authorities in this area of ​​this cyberattack and have brought in external experts to solve the problem,” HR director Vicky Welvaert said for VRT [as per Google Translate]. “We are currently working on it with all our might.” 

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