German car parts and defense company Rheinmetall has confirmed being targeted in a cyberattack by a known ransomware group, but said its military business is not affected.
The company reported in mid-April that it had been hit by a cyberattack. Specifically, it said the attack had impacted a business unit focusing on industrial customers, mainly the automotive sector.
In recent days, the ransomware group named Black Basta listed Rheinmetall on its leak website, suggesting that the company does not want to pay a ransom and negotiations have failed or stalled.
The cybercriminals are apparently threatening to leak files stolen from Rheinmetall and they have posted several screenshots to demonstrate that potentially sensitive data has been exfiltrated.
The screenshots show that the hackers have obtained purchase orders, passport copies, technical schemes, letters of confidentiality, non-disclosure agreements, and other corporate documents.
Responding to a SecurityWeek inquiry on Tuesday, Rheinmetall confirmed that it’s responding to an attack launched by the Black Basta ransomware group. The company said the breach was detected on April 14.
A Rheinmetall spokesperson said the incident impacts the organization’s civilian business, but its military business, which relies on ‘strictly separated IT infrastructure’, is not affected.
“The relevant authorities have been informed. Rheinmetall has filed a criminal complaint with the Cologne public prosecutor’s office,” the Rheinmetall spokesperson noted.
The attack on Rheinmetall came to light shortly after the company announced plans to build a tank factory in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has made the company an important player in the global arms trade.
The Black Basta ransomware group is believed to have ties to a major Russian cybercrime operation and it has taken credit for attacks on several major companies, including UK outsourcing firm Capita.
This is not the first time Rheinmetall has been hit in a cyberattack. In 2019, the company reported that production at its automotive plants in the United States, Brazil and Mexico was disrupted as a result of a malware attack.
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