Rheinmetall, German arms and car parts maker, said it had been hit by a malware attack. It allegedly affected production at some sites in the United States, Mexico and Brazil. This sent shares down in early trade on Friday.
Rheinmetall released a statement late on Thursday. They said: "Normal production processes at these locations are currently experiencing significant disruption". Rheinmetall shares have risen around 50% since the start of this year. They were indicated to open 2.9% lower in early Frankfurt trade on Friday.
"The IT infrastructure in the region has been shut down and is currently being rebuilt", Rheinmetall spokesman Peter Ruecker said. He added that the company could not say who might have been behind it.
Cyber attacks are becoming a big headache for European blue chip companies. The attacks which affect producers engaged in critical infrastructure, machinery and armament are especially detrimental.
On Thursday, France's AFP news agency reported that a series of cyber attacks on Airbus in the past few months was conducted via the computer systems of its suppliers. Security sources suspect a link to China.
In July, German blue-chip companies BASF, Siemens and Henkel revealed they had been victims of cyber attacks. This confirmed a German media report which said the likely culprit was a state-backed Chinese group.
Rheinmetall said the IT shutdown is expected to last two to four weeks, with a financial impact of 3 to 4 million euros ($3.27 to $4.36 million) per week.
"We are still able to deliver according to schedule," Ruecker said.
He said that the domain affected by the malware had been cut off from Rheinmetall's corporate network. Only the Automotive branch were affected by the attack. Thus, none of Rheinmetall's armament operations were impacted.
Source: Reuters Berlin, 27 September 2019
Reporting: Tassilo Hummel