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Irish multinational agribusiness company hit by ransomware attack, systems taken offline

The Dole Food Company, a large Ireland-headquartered agricultural business, has been struck by a ransomware attack that has affected a large portion of the company’s operations.

user icon David Hollingworth
Mon, 27 Feb 2023
Irish multinational agribusiness company hit by ransomware attack, systems taken offline
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Dole made the announcement of the breach on 22 February without adding much more detail than that an event had occurred.

“Dole plc announced today that the company recently experienced a cyber security incident that has been identified as ransomware,” the company’s press release read.

“Upon learning of this incident, Dole moved quickly to contain the threat and engaged leading third-party cyber security experts, who have been working in partnership with Dole’s internal teams to remediate the issue and secure systems.”

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Dole confirmed that it was working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident, adding that “the impact to Dole operations has been limited”.

However, the ransomware attack does appear to have had far more impact on day-to-day operations and has affected a number of Dole’s own customers. The company sent out memos to a number of the companies it supplies with produce, warning them of ongoing disruptions to its supply chain.

“Would like to share some information with everyone in regards to our prepackaged salad case being empty. Here is the reasoning behind the shortage,” wrote Texan supermarket Stewart’s on Facebook on 18 February before sharing the contents of the Dole memo.

“Good afternoon, Dole Food Company is in the midst of a cyber attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America,” the company said in the memo. “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.”

Dole is one of the world’s biggest growers of vegetables and fruit, with over 38,000 employees across 75 countries. The company operates a range of distribution centres worldwide as well as 109,000 acres of farmland.

Its revenue in 2021 totalled US$6.5 billion.

The company has not yet confirmed any loss of data or who the threat actors behind the attack may be.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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