Brewing giant Lion hit by Ransomware attack

The Australian brewing and dairy giant behind brands XXXX Gold beer, Tooheys, Dairy Farmers and Pura has confirmed a ransomware virus was detected on June 10 that cause the company to immediately shut down all systems.

Every one of Lion’s breweries across the country halted its production lines, although the company said there is currently enough beer to satisfy demand. However, the availability of some dairy and drinks products has been affected.

According to a company statement, “The ransomware targeted our computer systems. In response, we immediately shut down key systems as a precaution. 

“Our IT teams and expert cyber advisors are working around the clock, investigating the issue and assessing how long the impacts will continue. Our focus is on bringing systems back online safely so we can resume our business as usual manufacturing, and customer services. This is taking some time, but it is necessary that we work through this properly. 

“There is no evidence that any of the information contained in our system (including financial or personal information) has been affected but this is something that we will review closely as we continue to investigate the incident. 

“We have notified the authorities of the incident; and we will work alongside the relevant government authorities, law enforcement agencies and privacy regulators, as required.”

"This attack has impacted crucial aspects of the brewing process. We operate multiple large-scale breweries, which are heavily reliant on IT infrastructure."

"This attack could not have come at a worse time for Lion, particularly for our valued pub and club customers who are in the very early stages of recovery following the COVID-19 closures."

Tyler Moffitt, Security Analyst at global cybersecurity and threat intelligence firm Webroot, said, “Although the extent of the damage done is not known yet, it was only a matter of time before a FMCG company fell victim to cybercriminals.

“Consumer goods and retail businesses have become increasingly attractive to hackers because they have access to and likely store sensitive personal data from their interactions with the everyday consumer. This personal data, which can then be used for nefarious purposes like phishing or identity theft, can fetch a high price on the dark web. Companies successfully targeted by cyber-attacks can be left feeling the effects of the disruption long after systems are restored, because it also impacts the brand’s reputation and consumer trust. Additionally, the ramifications and fines of consumer privacy laws like GDPR can make it even harder. From a reputation protection standpoint, being in the spotlight for data breaches is not at all good for business.

“This wakeup call is an opportunity for Lion Australia and other FMCG players to re-evaluate their cybersecurity processes – more than ever, cyber resilience planning needs to be a key priority and integrated into every aspect of the business.”