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Bad Guys go Bananas at Dole!

Did you know that bananas are a berry, not a fruit and that they don't grow on a tree but a herb? I find bananas fascinating and if you do too, check out the Freakonomics Podcast Episode on The Most Interesting Fruit in the World. Who knew the bananas we eat today are completely different than those our grandparents ate?

But I digress. The real news is that all week long grocery store shelves have been bare of Dole products. In an official announcement from Dole yesterday, the $6.5B food giant halted all North American operations due to a cyberattack that deployed ransomware. This made all of their computers and delivery systems instantly useless, held hostage by cybercriminals demanding a ransom to release them.

In a memo sent by Dole to the grocery chains that stock their products, Dole is implementing its crisis management protocol that includes a “Manual Backup Program.” This means that it's all going to be paper and pencil until this mess is sorted out between Dole, the hackers and law enforcement.

The Takeaway

I learned from that Freakonomics podcast (above) that bananas are by far the most widely traded fruit, fruit or vegetable, about 800 billion bananas sold each year. A disruption like this is huge.

I'm sure that in the coming months we'll get more details on how the bad guys got into Dole's infrastructure. However, what's likely (as it's what we see in the real world) are highly sophisticated and targeted phishing emails.

In fact, the entire food supply chain has had a significant increase in attacks over the past year. In December the FBI issued a statement warning that cybercriminals had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of shipments from US food suppliers by placing fraudulent orders for milk products.

The lesson: keep an eye on those emails and make sure your staff is up-to-date on their employee security awareness training program.

Need help with that? We can help.

Stay safe out there.



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