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Thursday, 06 August 2020 11:54

Germany's NETZSCH Group hit by Windows Clop ransomware

Germany's NETZSCH Group hit by Windows Clop ransomware Pixabay

Cyber criminals have used the Windows Clop ransomware to attack the German NETZSCH Group, an owner-managed, international technology company, which has its headquarters in the state of Bavaria.

Ransom demands do not appear to have been accepted and in keeping with its standard practice, the criminals have released 5.32Gb of correspondence (screenshot below) entered into by the chief executive, chief financial officer and other workers in the company.

NETZSCH has 2100 employees and annual revenue of about US$1 billion (A$1.4 billion).

One message has been left open on the dark Web site of the ransomware group, a somewhat erotic effort by Moritz Netzsch, a member of executive board who is in charge of Strategy, HR and Innovation.

iTWire obtained a translation from the author's sister, who resides in London and was married to a German of Indian origin for 21 years.

clop netzschShe summarised the message this way: "It is sent by someone who calls himself Moritz. It is asking for a fetish date, outlines the kind of kinky stuff he is interested in and asks for a response. He says that WhatsApp is also alright for a response. Looks to be some sexual deviant."

It appears like the criminals were aware of the saucy text and wanted to embarrass Netzsch.

Update, 10 August: Contacted for comment, a NETZSCH spokesperson told iTWire: "We can confirm that the NETZSCH Group has been the target of a ransomware attack on 10 July. Our IT department reacted early on and was thus able to minimise damage significantly. All our networks and servers were shut down immediately.

"Together with a team of cyber security and IT forensic experts we have been working on cleaning and restoring the systems under additionally strengthened security conditions.

"Most of our systems are now available again, we are re-connected to email communication and our production and delivery are up and running. All installed IT security measures have already been double checked and additionally secured.

"We work closely with law enforcement agencies and the responsible special department for cyber crime immediately started investigations. The investigations are still ongoing.

"As to data publications allegedly resulting from this incident, we are — together with law enforcement agencies and our lawyers — reviewing any postings in order to verify if such postings may be fake.

"Moreover, we will be enforcing our rights to protect corporate confidentiality and will support the enforcement of the privacy and personal rights of all individuals potentially affected by a data steal and illegal publications."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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