Wave of cyberattacks in Catalan companies to steal data

  • Estrella Damm has been paralyzed since Wednesday with a large part of its factory in El Prat

The brewery Estrella Damm has been forced to partially stop production at its factory in El Prat de Llobregat after being the victim of a cyber attack, according to the sources consulted by this newspaper. The brewery facilities, which operate with a high degree of dependence on the computer Services, have seen their activity seriously altered since this Wednesday at noon. Since then, those responsible for the company have been trying to minimize the damage caused.

It is not the only company with activity in Catalonia affected by attacks of this type. Firms such as Mediamarkt have also recently suffered cyber attacks that have blocked their servers in Europe.

The virus used would be of the type ‘ransomware‘, specifically the modality Conti; a computer virus that is commonly used to threaten many companies with leaking their data. This practice consists of a virus that infiltrates the victim’s computer system as if it were a Trojan horse. Once the system is infected, it detects essential private data and blocks it by means of encryption, making it impossible for the company to access it. After this digital hijacking, cybercriminals demand a ransom payment to release that information and, if not, threaten to make it public.

In recent years, the cases of companies blackmailed with this method by hackers it has multiplied. These cyberattacks have been carried out against companies of various sizes, both in the public and private sectors. Currently, the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) is in the process of rebuilding its servers after being attacked with a similar ‘ransomware’. These criminals have also targeted such strategic and sensitive infrastructures such as hospitals, where data hijacking puts lives at risk, or pipeline networks, as happened in the United States last May.

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In the case of Estrella Damm, the cyberattack has seriously halted the activity of the El Prat plant, where around 400 people work, since yesterday at noon. In other words, the factory has been waiting for more than 24 hours to return to normal operation. According to company sources, which officially qualifies what happened as a “technical incident,” there should be no talk of a total stoppage because some production areas have been able to circumvent the attack.


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