Hackers target Tokyo-based glassmaker Hoya with ransomware

A group of hackers have executed a ransomware attack on Hoya Corp., marking the second successful attack on the Japanese firm in two years.

”We can confirm that Hoya Vision Care U.S. has experienced a cyberattack. Based on our initial forensics, the disruption appears to have been limited to our United States systems,” a Hoya spokesperson said. “After identifying the threat, we quickly took action to contain it and contacted law enforcement. The company has engaged external experts to determine the nature and scope of this event. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.”

Hoya, named after the western Tokyo neighborhood where it was founded in 1941, is a glassmaker with about 37,000 employees worldwide and about $5 billion in annual revenue. Last year, the company received 65% of its sales from contact lenses and glasses, while the rest came from IT devices and services, including glass substrate used in the manufacturing of semiconductors and hard disk drives, according to a 2020 company report.

The hacker group called Astro Team said on its blog last week that it targeted Hoya servers and stole about 300 gigabytes of confidential corporate data including information regarding finance and production, as well as email messages, passwords and safety reports.

In 2019, Hoya suffered a major cyberattack, infecting over 100 computers and forcing the company to shut down its factories for three days.

”Ransomware attacks are more disruptive than ever and companies not only have to deal with the encryption of their data, but also the theft and possible release of it,” Brett Callow, a threat analyst for Emsisoft said in an interview. It’s an increasingly common problem with more than 1,300 public and private sector organizations globally having had their data stolen and posted online last year, he added.

In late 2019 Hoya offered to spend as much as ¥147.7 billion ($1.36 billion) for NuFlare Technology Inc., seeking control of the Toshiba Corp. affiliate in a rare hostile takeover bid among Japanese companies. Despite it’s higher offer, Hoya was beat by Toshiba in January of last year, with Toshiba succeeding in its tender offer to buy out other shareholders of NuFlare and take the unit private.

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