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German chemicals giant Bayer suffered a hack attack, but said no data appeared to have been stolen.

The Leverkusen, Germany-based group “detected indications of (hacker group) Winnti infections at the beginning of 2018,” a spokesman said in an AFP report.

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“There is no evidence of data theft,” Bayer said in a statement, though a spokesman added the overall damage was still being assessed.

“This type of attack points toward the ‘Wicked Panda’ group in China, according to security experts,” the spokesman added, citing DCSO, a cyber security group set up by Bayer in 2015 with German partners Allianz, BASF and Volkswagen.

Cyber Security

The hackers used malware called WINNTI, which makes it possible to access a system remotely and then pursue further exploits from there, said Andreas Rohr of the DCSO in a Reuters report.

“Once it has been installed, more or less any action can be carried out,” Rohr said.

The Chinese hackers were first spotted using malicious software to spy on Bayer’s activities in early 2018 and were present in company networks until late last month.

Bayer said it was “in close collaboration with” police in North Rhine-Westphalia state and it had “identified, analyzed and cleaned up the affected systems.”

Bayer said Cologne state prosecutors were looking into the case.

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