Hackers paralyze battery maker Varta in cyberattack

The Varta Group was the target of a cyberattack on parts of its IT systems on the night of Feb. 12, the battery manufacturer has announced. Five production plants and the company’s administration were affected.

“The IT systems and thus also production were proactively shut down temporarily for security reasons and disconnected from the internet,” Varta said in a statement.

This has basically paralyzed almost all of Varta’s operations. The manufacturer has three production sites in Germany — Ellwangen, where it is based; Dischingen, and Nördlingen — as well as further assembly and packaging plants in Romania and Indonesia.

Varta employs around 4,600 people and is targeting annual sales of €900 million in 2024.

However, the cyberattack has put a damper on these plans for the time being. It is still unclear what impact the security incident will have on business. “The IT systems and the extent of the impact are currently being reviewed,” the statement said, adding, “The utmost care is being taken to ensure data integrity. The extent of the actual damage cannot be determined at this time.”

No information is yet available on the nature of the attack either. At present, we can only speculate as to whether the battery manufacturer, like so many other companies, has fallen victim to a ransomware gang. Who is behind the cyberattack is currently just as unclear, as are the questions of how the hackers were able to access the IT systems and whether ransom demands have already been made. 

Those responsible at Varta are currently trying to get operations up and running again.

“In accordance with the emergency plan for such situations, the necessary precautionary measures were implemented immediately,” the company announced. A task force set up immediately is working with the support of cybersecurity experts and data forensics specialists to restore normal operations as quickly as possible and deal with the incident.

Cyberattacks, Manufacturing Industry, Security

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