German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp said it has been the target of a cyber-attack in which the attackers sought to steal company’s trade secrets.
Hackers believed to be from the Southeast Asian region were trying to obtain technological know-how and research from some areas of business area industrial solutions.
Systems of Business Area Steel Europe were also affected, with the attack discovered by the company’s computer emergency response team.
While hackers managed to steal certain amount of data, its exact nature is not clear, with the exception of certain project information in an operative engineering company.
At present there is no reliable estimation of the damage to the company’s intellectual property.
ThyssenKrupp said no evidence of sabotage or manipulation of data or applications has been identified during its investigation.
The company said: “The incident is not attributable to security deficiencies at thyssenkrupp. Human error can also be ruled out.
“Experts say that in the complex IT landscapes of large companies, it is currently virtually impossible to provide viable protection against organised, highly professional hacking attacks,” ThyssenKrupp said.
The company revised the attacked IT systems and they are now being controlled for new attempted attacks.
According to reports from Reuters, the attack was discovered in April and is believed to have started in February. The company reportedly delayed publicising the attack in order to address the issue across its facilities at the time.
ThyssenKrupp is based in Duisburg and Essen, Germany. It owns 670 companies globally and employs about 155,000 people in about 80 countries.
The company is one of the world’s largest steel makers. It provides components and systems for the automotive industry, elevators, escalators, material trading and industrial services.
Germany has been subject to repeated cyber attacks in recent years.
German telecommunications firm Deutsche Telekom recently suffered a cyber attack that infected about 1 million routers used to access its internet service.