Ransomware attack cripples operations at ASCO aircraft parts manufacturer

Web application security testing experts reported that ASCO Industries, a worldwide leading aircraft parts manufacturing company, has become the new victim of a ransomware attack.  According to reports, most of the company’s systems, based in Zaventem, Belgium, were affected by the infection, leading to a long period of inactivity in the IT infrastructure of all ASCO plants.

Inactivity at the company’s plants caused more than a thousand out of the 1,500 employees at ASCO’s headquarters in Belgium to be sent back to their homes, as there were no optimal conditions to maintain operations. The aviation parts manufacturer reported that over the next week the operations will remain suspended; this measure also extends to the company’s facilities in the United States, Germany and Canada.

On the other hand, the company’s plants in France and Brazil operate normally. Vicky Welvaert, the company’s director of Human Resources, said, “We have filed a request for temporary interruption of work activities for this incident that has overcome us”.

The company’s web application security testing specialists say that data protection and law enforcement authorities have already been notified; ASCO has also contracted the services of an external information security company to implement the necessary fixes to its systems as quickly as possible.

“We have informed all competent authorities in the area of cybercrime, plus we are working with external web application security testing professionals; we’ll keep monitoring the situation until we correct the inconveniences and restore our systems completely,” added a company spokesman.

So far, ASCO has not revealed further technical details about the incident, such as the ransomware variant used by threat actors, the recovery process performed by the company, or the actual scope of the incident. 

The most relevant manufacturing companies have become one of the main targets of ransomware campaign operators. A couple of months ago, researchers at the International Cyber Security Institute (IICS) reported an encryption malware attack on the systems of Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s leading aluminum-producing companies; in total, the company had to invest more than $40 M USD in the recovery process.