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Ransomware Attack on Fruit Giant

According to a formal report acquired by a TV station, a hack earlier this month led 'Produce Giant - Dole' to temporarily shut down manufacturing sites in North America and delay food shipments to grocery shops.

Several grocery buyers recently complained on Facebook that Dole-made salad kits were missing from store shelves due to a previously unreported attack that was caused by Ransomware, according to a source familiar with the situation.

"Dole Food Company is in the midst of a Cyber Attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America," said senior vice president at Dole's Fresh Vegetables division. He confirmed in a statement that ransomware was the cause of the incident.

The corporation has alerted law enforcement and is cooperating with their inquiry. While the scale of the event is still being investigated, the impact on Dole operations has been minimal. According to a recent business press release, Dole operates four processing factories in the United States and employs over 3,000 employees.

Dole stated in a statement that after learning of the event, it "acted rapidly to limit the danger" and "engaged top third-party cybersecurity specialists, who have been working in cooperation with Dole's internal teams to fix the issue and protect systems."

Less lucrative, but still prevalent

According to a person familiar with the situation, Dole took down its computer systems shortly after the breach began in order to restrict the spread of the ransomware. Ransomware encrypts machines in order for hackers to demand a ransom.

Dole Plc employs email security software with which it has contracts with both US government agencies and companies.

"Any downtime for Dole plc will put a strain on income for the food sector giant," warns the cybersecurity firm in a pre-hack post on its website, which names Dole as a customer.

The Dole ransomware assault demonstrates how the just-in-time nature of food supply chains makes companies especially vulnerable to financially driven hacks such as ransomware. Because manufacturing and distribution are carefully coordinated to save waste and expense, any interruption caused by a cyberattack can have a knock-on impact across the supply chain, resulting in shortages and unavoidable price rises.

According to a new Research report, threat actors have considerably accelerated the deployment of ransomware, from an average of 60 days per assault in 2019 to less than four days in 2021. "Even for major international corporations like Dole, staying on top of network vulnerabilities and regularly upgrading prevention-based security is extremely tough. "You will be breached, so be ready," stated a representative.

Ransomware is not the only digital fraud affecting the food industry. The FBI and other government agencies warned in December that cybercriminals had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars in shipments from US food providers by making bogus orders for milk products.

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