Dole plc, one of the world's largest producers of fruits and vegetables, announced late Wednesday that it suffered a ransomware attack. The incident forced the company to temporarily shut down its production plants in North America and halt shipments to grocery stores.
"Upon learning of this incident, Dole moved quickly to contain the threat and engaged leading third-party cybersecurity experts, who have been working in partnership with Dole’s internal teams to remediate the issue and secure systems," Dole stated on its website. The company added that it has notified law enforcement about the incident and is cooperating with their investigation.
This confirmation followed a CNN report that the company experienced a cyberattack that significantly affected its operations.
Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president at Dole's Fresh Vegetables division, sent the following memo to retailers (via BleepingComputer):
Dole Food Company is in the midst of a Cyber Attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America. Our IT group is working hard on mitigating the issues in order to get our systems up and running ASAP. Our plants are shut down for the day and all shipments are on hold. All our businesses are implementing our Crisis Management Protocol to resume “business as usual” post haste, inclusive of our Manual Backup Program if needed. Please bear with us as we navigate our way and hopefully we will minimize this event.
Thank you for your patience and your salesperson will keep you updated and informed of our progress.
The hack, which was previously unreported, resulted in some grocery shoppers complaining on social media that some stores were not carrying Dole prepackaged salad kits. CNN interviewed managers from stores in New Mexico and Texas who said that they were unable to stock Dole products due to the attack. "They [customers] are upset, but it happens," said a produce manager of Clayton Ranch Market in Clayton, New Mexico. "We can’t do nothing about it except [put in the orders]."
As of this writing, it is not yet known how Dole fell victim to the ransomware attack. Nonetheless, to protect your PCs from such attacks, do not open links or attachments from unsolicited emails because they could contain malware. Keep your antivirus software updated, and always backup your files on an external storage system like a flash drive, hard drive, or the cloud.