Monday 16 October 2017

Warning to firms after cyber attack on food giant

'Losses are set to soar following a spate of malware and ransomware attacks already this year, ranging from WannaCry to Petya' Photo: Reuters
'Losses are set to soar following a spate of malware and ransomware attacks already this year, ranging from WannaCry to Petya' Photo: Reuters
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A cyber raid targeting Irish retail giant the Musgrave Group is a portent of the challenge facing all businesses as criminal hackers grow increasingly sophisticated, experts warned.

It is feared that two-thirds of all economic crimes suffered by Irish businesses will be cyber-crime related by 2019.

The stark warning came as the food wholesaler insisted there was no evidence that customer or supplier financial data was exported after the raid this week.

However, the Musgrave attack was the latest in a spate of high-profile cyber crimes against leading Irish retailers, banks and State agencies.

Losses are set to soar following a spate of malware and ransomware attacks already this year, ranging from WannaCry to Petya.

Musgrave, Ireland's largest grocery distributor, which operates such hugely successful retail brands as SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak, confirmed its IT experts detected a cyber attack on Monday.

It involved malware, or malicious software, on a central network that was attempting to extract debt and credit card numbers and expiry dates.

However, the software involved was not looking for the cardholder name, PIN or CVV numbers.

Musgrave has urged all customers to check their statements carefully as a result of the attack.

"While there is no evidence that any data has been stolen at this point, Musgrave is advising any concerned shoppers to review activity on their statements as a precautionary measure," a spokesman said.

"Musgrave's cyber breach response experts have installed advanced technical fixes and continue to actively manage and monitor the situation."

The firm stressed that it is taking the cyber attack very seriously.

"The protection of information is an absolute priority for Musgrave, with a range of security solutions including threat-monitoring, anti-virus software, firewall and penetration testing deployed," a spokesman said.

"The company aims to ensure that security standards are maintained at the highest levels and apologises to its customers for this issue."

The attack has been linked to notorious Serbian criminals.

One IT expert, Ronan Murphy of SmartTech247, said the number of cyber attacks on Irish firms was increasing exponentially.

Worryingly, some attacks are extremely sophisticated and involve state-sponsored gangs operating in countries like North Korea.

Dublin Information Sec 2017, Ireland’s cyber security conference, addresses the critically important issues that threaten businesses in the information age. For more on INM’s Dublin InfoSec 2017 conference, go to: independent.ie/infosec

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