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German semiconductor maker Semikron hit by cyberattack

Semikron, the Germany-based power electronics manufacturer, says the attack resulted in data encryption, pointing to a ransomware attack.

The company said it fell victim to a professional hacker group, who informed Semikron that the firm’s data was stolen. However, the company was investigating whether that was actually the case.

While Semikron is based in Germany, the company has subsidiaries in the US, Italy, France, China, Brazil, and elsewhere. The company boasts employing 3,000 people in 24 subsidiaries worldwide.

“The attack also resulted in partial encryption of our IT systems and files. The entire network is currently being forensically examined and cleaned up,” Semikron management said in a statement.

The description of the incident points to the incident being a ransomware attack. Ransomware gangs often use the double extortion tactic, a two-pronged extortion approach of locking companies out of their own files while also threatening to auction off this data to the public if the ransom isn’t paid. If the ransom demands are met, threat actors promise to delete the data they’ve stolen.

The company said it is working with external cybersecurity and forensic experts to investigate the incident.

Steady growth

The number of ransomware attacks grew last quarter compared to the beginning of the year. Digital Shadows counted 705 victims, 21% more than over previous months. Ivan Righi, a Senior Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst at Digital Shadows, thinks we’ll only see more attacks as the year progresses.

“[…] activity is likely to continue increasing until the end of the year. The rise in activity was primarily attributed to smaller ransomware groups having a higher activity level than usual, which is another trend likely to continue due to the recent closure of some large ransomware groups,” Righi said.

Threat actors primarily focused on the industrial goods and services sector, followed by the technology as well as construction and materials sectors. Companies in the United States continue to be the primary focus of ransomware gangs, with around 39% of total victims in the US.

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