Two major US-based chemical companies were hit by a cyberattack

Security Week, March 25, 2019 - US-based chemical companies, Hexion and Momentive, were disrupted recently by a cyberattack reportedly involving LockerGoga, the ransomware that recently hit Norwegian aluminum giant Norsk Hydro.

Hexion and Momentive said they had been working on restoring networks and resuming normal operations after suffering “network security incidents” that prevented access to certain IT systems and data.

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They both claimed that their manufacturing systems are on different networks and continued to operate normally with limited interruptions -- the attack appears to have mainly impacted “corporate functions.”

Vice’s Motherboard reported that both companies were hit on March 12 by LockerGoga, the ransomware that recently also infected systems at Norsk Hydro. The theory that LockerGoga was involved in the attacks on Hexion and Momentive is based on a screenshot of a ransom screen obtained by the publication from an employee.

Both Hexion and Momentive are owned by the same investor group so it’s possible that their systems are connected and that is how the malware made it from one organization to the other.

SecurityWeek has reached out to Hexion and Momentive, but they both pointed to the press releases and refused to provide additional details.

According to Motherboard, which obtained an internal memo sent out to employees by Momentive’s CEO, the incident caused a global IT outage that forced the company to order hundreds of new computers and give some employees new email accounts as their old ones had become inaccessible.

LockerGoga is designed to encrypt files, but it does not have any built-in mechanism for spreading on a network. In the case of the Norsk Hydro attack, experts believe it may have leveraged the organization’s Active Directory deployment to spread.