Dutch supermarkets ran out of cheese after a ransomware attack against one of the country’s largest logistics service providers.
The famous food-logistics firm suffered a ransomware attack that encrypted devices on their network. As a consequence, according to the director’s words, they “couldn’t plan transports anymore”. As a result, they had to disrupt fulfilment operations while working on the cyber-incident. This interruption led to a shortage of some food products, especially cheese. The largest Dutch grocery chain Albert Heijn posted a notice on its website to inform its cheese-mad customers about the inconvenience:
“Due to a technical malfunction, there is limited availability on the pre-packaged cheese. The logistics service provider works hard to solve the problem as quickly as possible and to quickly restore availability. We apologize for the inconvenience”.
The logistics company stated that they could restore the affected systems from backups. However, it never commented on whether they paid the ransom or not. To date, we still do not know what ransomware gang attacked the warehousing and transportation provider. They only suspect the attack to relate to Microsoft Exchange server vulnerabilities.
Photo: Empty food shelves at Albert Heijn // Source: NOS
Starting from SMBs to multinational corporations, any enterprise is a possible ransomware target. When it comes to cyberattacks, companies should always keep in mind that it is a two-front war, having, on the one hand, direct attacks against organisations, and on the other hand, indirect attacks through third parties – including supply chains, – which are often overlooked, not considering that the weak link in big enterprises’ security often lies in partners or suppliers. Supply chain attacks can heavily damage organizations, individual departments, or entire industries.
Damage caused by ransomware attacks is common for supermarkets as well as for other organizations in a supply chain. According to Clusit (the Italian Association for Cybersecurity), ransomware attacks are spreading precipitously, thus representing almost a third of all the attacks performed in Italy during 2020.
Here are a few suggestions on how to prevent a ransomware attack:
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