Cyberattack! E-Mails Down at 4,100 Employee Nyrstar

January 23, 2019

By Rich Tehrani - Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC

Nyrstar is a global multi-metals business with a market-leading position in zinc and lead, and growing positions in other base and precious metals that are essential resources fueling the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the world.  It has mining, smelting and other operations in Europe, the Americas and Australia and employs about 4100 people. 

The company recently acknowledged it has been hit by a cyber-attack affecting its Port Pirie site’s emails and information technology systems.  According to the company, some of its systems, including email, were down on Tuesday at its Zurich headquarters, as well as across its metals processing and mining operations globally.

The Belgian-listed company, which is working on a deal to restructure its debts, recently said Martyn Konig had agreed to take up the role of executive chairman, while Roman Matej had been appointed CFO, replacing Michel Abaza, who has left the group.  The decision to make Mr. Konig executive chairman will allow Nyrstar’s chief executive Hilmar Rode to focus on the day-to-day running of the company without being distracted by the discussions over debt, according to people familiar with the situation.

As for the cyber attack, “The issue has been contained and the company is working on a technical recovery plan with key information technology partners and global cyber security agencies,” the company said.  “Some of the information technology systems, including email correspondence, have been shut to help contain the issue, and the metals processing and mining operations are not operationally impacted.  The company has taken precautionary measures to ensure continued operations of its sites.”

While the company appears to be taking this incident seriously and is taking appropriate measures to protect its business, customers, and stakeholders, this attack reminds us of the need to ensure business continuity checks are in place.  Regardless of threats – cybersecurity, weather or even bad luck like a pipe bursting near the data center – companies need a plan and then must test the plan often to ensure business disruptions are minimized.

Edited by Erik Linask

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