Fresh fruit and vegetable manufacturer Dole foods shut down its North American production facilities after it was hit by a ransomware attack.
A ransomware attack on the Dole Food Company forced the manufacturer to stop production at all its North American facilities last week, causing a lettuce supply shortage at US grocery stores.
“The company recently experienced a cybersecurity incident that has been identified as ransomware,” Dole announced in a short press release on the company website Thursday.
“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,” the release stated.
Dole was able to shut down its computer systems soon after the hack began to contain the spread of the ransomware, a source told CNN who first reported the story.
Although the company stated “the impact to operations has been limited”, Dole is one of the worlds largest producers of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dole not only grows and sources over 300 lines of fresh produce, but is also directly involved in the packing, shipping, marketing and distributing of their products as well.
According to Dole’s website, the manufacturer has over 250 facilities across the globe.
As the investigation is still ongoing, it is unclear who is responsible, if a ransom was paid, and if the attack will have a trickle-down effect on the company’s integrated supply chain networks.
Already, some US grocery stores in Texas and New Mexico said they have been accosted by customers on social media wondering why shelves have been left empty of Dole packaged lettuce and salad kits.
A senior VP at Dole’s Fresh Vegetables division sent out letters to wholesale retailers about the incident almost two weeks ago.
“Dole Food Company is in the midst of a cyberattack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America,” the letter stated.
Stewart’s food store in Texas posted the February 11 memo on Facebook.
Dole has not revealed whether their servers are back online now; the memo implies the company has a manual backup program if needed.
The company was originally founded in Hawaii more than 170 years ago, before it moved its headquarters to Ireland in the 1980s.
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