ASML hack

March 2, 2015 on 7:09 pm | In General | No Comments

ASML is a Dutch company that manufactures machines used in computerchips-production. Among the customers, are Samsung, Intel and TSMC, which are also among the main shareholders.
ASML is an industry leader and in fact the central link in maintaining Moore’s law. In this race to fit more transistors in a circuit, ASML is assumed tob e well underway in perfecting euv-technology.
After reports on Dutch websites last Friday about the company being hacked by a Chinese group called PLA Unit 61486, ASML confirmed a security breach on Saturday.
According to ASML hackers gained unauthorized acces to a limited portion of its IT systems. They took steps shortly after the breach occured an are conducting an investigation into the nature, origin and objective of the breach.
ASML is a leading coroporation in their field. Their machines are mainly high-tech machines for the semiconductor industry. Giving the large amounts of Research and Developement involved it is very likely that if the attackers were indeed Chines they were after the designs for these machines.
This attack would fit in a pattern of Chinese attempts at security breaches in the technology sector, both in the US and Europe.
One unnamed source claims the attackers were after the ground breaking euv- technology that uses extreme ultraviolet light lithografy in a method to produce smaller chips. It has taken ASML a lot of research and money to get this process to a working level fit for mass-production.
ASML said there is no evidence of valuable files being stolen, neither from themselves nor from their customers. At this time they were unable to confirm the origin of the attack. It is also unclear how the attackers gained access. Most likely it was a targeted phishing attack at the companies staff.
ASML did not comment on the fact whether their French office was targeted as well or just the Dutch headquarter. If they release any more information about this, we will certainly keep you posted.

Tweakers (Dutch) reported it first
ASML Press Release

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