Chipmaker Giant Nexperia Confirms Cyber-Attack Amid Ransomware Group Claims

Nexperia, a prominent chipmaker, disclosed that it was targeted in a cyber-attack where ransomware actors from the Dunghill group accessed sensitive documents and intellectual property. Dunghill claimed on its data leak site to have stolen 1TB of data from Nexperia. This incident occurred in March 2024 and involved the theft of trade secrets, employee data, and customer information, including data from major companies. The Dunghill group has threatened to release additional data unless a ransom is paid. The group also provided a small sample of the alleged data breach in a proof pack in its dark web post. Dutch broadcaster RTL has verified these documents and stated that they include internal emails and the passport of a former senior vice president of the company.

Security Officer Comments:
Nexperia, which is owned by a Chinese company and headquartered in the Netherlands, took immediate action to contain the breach. The members of the company disconnected affected systems from the internet and are currently collaborating with external specialist and law enforcement agencies to investigate the nature and scope of the incident. The company has also informed relevant authorities in the Netherlands.. Nexperia develops and produces semiconductors for electronic devices used across a range of sectors, including automotive, industrial and mobile and consumer applications. Governments around the world have raised alarms about the risks posed by cyber attacks targeting semi-conductor technologies.

Suggested Corrections:
Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline: Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems.

Update and patch systems promptly: This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk-based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.

Test your incident response plan: There's nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline?

Check Your Security Team's Work: Use a 3rd party pen tester to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the equivalent of unlocked doors.

Segment your networks: There's been a recent shift in ransomware attacks – from stealing data to disrupting operations. It's critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised. Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident.

Train employees: Email remains the most vulnerable attack vector for organizations. Users should be trained how to avoid and spot phishing emails. Multi Factor authentication can help prevent malicious access to sensitive services.