Cyber Attack On Food Giant Dole Shuts Down Production Plants In North America

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cyber attack

A recent cyber attack on produce giant Dole forced them to shut down production plants and halt food shipments to grocery stores, according to a company memo obtained by CNN.

In a February 10 memo to retailers, Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president at Dole’s Fresh Vegetables division said: “Dole Food Company is in the midst of a Cyber Attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America”

CNN reports: The previously unreported hack — which a source familiar with the incident said was ransomware — led some grocery shoppers to complain on Facebook in recent days that store shelves were missing Dole-made salad kits.

“Dole Food Company is in the midst of a Cyber Attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America,” Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president at Dole’s Fresh Vegetables division, said in a February 10 memo to retailers.

Dole has four processing plants in the US and employs more than 3,000 people, according to a recent company press release.

After CNN published this story on Wednesday afternoon, Dole spokesperson William Goldfield sent CNN a statement confirming that ransomware was the cause of the incident.

“The company has notified law enforcement about the incident and are cooperating with their investigation,” Dole’s statement said in part. “While continuing to investigate the scope of the incident, the impact to Dole operations has been limited.”

However, two grocery stores in Texas and New Mexico contacted by CNN on Wednesday said they couldn’t stock Dole salad kits on their shelves for days.

Clayton Ranch Market, in the small town of Clayton, New Mexico, near the border with Oklahoma and Texas, has been short of salad kits since the beginning of last week, Jeff Russell, assistant manager of the store’s produce section, told CNN by phone on Wednesday.

A cyberattack on Dole was the cause of the salad shortage, Adam Wolfe, the store’s manager, told CNN, citing the Dole memo, which he said his store received from its wholesale grocery provider, Affiliated Foods Inc., in Texas.

Russell, the produce manager, rattled off the salad kits his store was out of on Tuesday, the most recent full day of inventory, from Dole Chopped Sesame to Dole Butter Bliss.

“They [customers] are upset, but it happens,” Russell told CNN. “We can’t do nothing about it except [put in the orders].”

Mary Underwood, an employee at Stewart’s Food Store, in Olney, Texas, more than 100 miles west of Dallas, told CNN on Wednesday that the store had struggled to get Dole salads for several days. Customers started asking questions about the bare shelves, Underwood said, prompting the store to post the Dole memo about the cyberattack on its Facebook page.

In its statement, Dole said it “moved quickly to contain the threat” after learning of the incident, 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.”

It was not immediately clear how long the company had to keep production offline. Goldfield, the Dole spokesperson, declined to answer questions on the incident, including whether a ransom was demanded by the hackers. The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency and the Department of Agriculture did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 15013 Articles
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.