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Global aluminum giant hit by "severe" and "extensive" cyberattack

One of the world's biggest producers of aluminum is struggling to control what a company executive called a "severe" cyberattack that's threatening its manufacturing and supply operations across Europe and the U.S.

Norsk Hydro of Norway stated on its website that it "became victim of an extensive cyberattack in the early hours of Tuesday [Central European Time], impacting operations in several of the company's business areas. IT systems in most business areas are impacted and Hydro is switching to manual operations as far as possible."

Norsk Hydro, with about $12.5 billion in revenue, is a top supplier of aluminum products in North America and Europe and has operations in around 50 countries. Temporary stoppages were reported at factories that create products including auto and airplane parts. All Norsk Hydro plants were made isolated from the company's global IT network to prevent the encryption virus from spreading between computer servers, according to company CFO Ivan Eivind Kallevik, who called the impact "severe."

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Kallevik told a Tuesday webcast the company is working to reinstall backup data to restore its systems to normal, but declined to offer a time frame. The executive declined comment on whether Norsk Hydro would consider paying a ransom and he declined comment on a report the company had been targeted by ransomware called LockerGoga. Norsk Hydro has cyber insurance, he said.

Word of Hydro's troubles helped propel aluminum prices to a three-month high on the London Metal Exchange. 

The company joins a list of commodity and manufacturing giants hit by hackers, including the agribusiness conglomerate Archer-Daniels-Midland and the Saudi oil company Aramco. Zinc smelter Nyrstar's processing and mining operations were subjected to an attack earlier this year.

Norsk Hydro's Facebook page was not viewable Tuesday, a situation that occurred after the company tweeted that the Facebook page would be used to offer public updates on the attack.

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