Crude Anglo American email highlights cyber-hack threat

Anglo American’s Quellaveco copper mine. (Image courtesy of Anglo American | Twitter.)

Subscribers to global miner Anglo American’s (LSE: AAL) email newsletter service might have received an eyebrow-raising message from the company on Monday telling them to “GO F**K YOURSELF.”

The company’s email distribution channels were compromised, resulting in a crudely worded message and an inappropriate image of Elon Musk sent to subscribers. The company immediately issued an apology on social media, citing a cyber attack against its third-party website provider, which it is investigating.

“If you are subscribed to our website email alert service and have received an email communication with an offensive message, we apologize. There appears to have been a cyber attack against our third-party website provider, which is currently being investigated,” the message reads, as supplied to The Northern Miner by Anglo’s group head of corporate affairs, James Wyatt-Tilby.

The incident once more throws the growing concerns over digital security in the mining industry into the limelight.

This cyber attack isn’t limited to Anglo American. Last December, Copper Mountain Mining — now owned by Hudbay Minerals (TSX: HBM; NYSE: HB) — faced a ransomware attack that led to a six-day shutdown of its Canadian treatment plant.

Similarly, Aurubis, a Hamburg-based copper recycling firm, reported an attack last year, part of what was described as a more significant assault on the metals and mining industry.

The frequency of such cyber-attacks is alarming. The January 2022 EY Global Information Security survey reported that 54% of mining and metals companies experienced significant cyberattacks, with 55% of executives expressing concern over their ability to manage such threats.

Firms like Recorded Future and Dragos have also noted an uptick in ransomware attacks targeting the industry, particularly those focusing on mining and water treatment plants.

These incidents underscore the increasing need for strong cybersecurity measures in the mining industry. As digital vulnerabilities are revealed to companies like Anglo American, the sector faces wake-up calls to re-evaluate and strengthen its defences against such sophisticated cyber threats.