Ransomware disrupts candy corn production for Halloween

Do you love or hate candy corn?

There seems to be no in-between. I myself look forward to Halloween and watch the store shelves for candy corn and candy corn pumpkins. Unfortunately those cybercriminals have out for us corn lovers! Chicago-based Ferra, the candy manufacturer of some of Halloween’s most popular sweet treats including SweetTarts, Laffy Taffy and Runts has been hit with a ransomware attack that disrupted production mere weeks before the candy industry’s biggest holiday.

Ransomware often arrives by email or by clicking on a malicious link on a website. Once on a company computer, it can spread through the network, allowing criminals to take control of operations. They usually watch and wait for the opportune time to lock out users, then demand a ransom to have them released so that  employees can get back to work. We recently saw this with the Colonial Pipeline attack a few months ago, where Russian cybercriminals shut down one of the eastern seaboard’s largest fuel distribution networks, the largest ever cyberattack on US critical infrastructure. Well, now they must be after candy… or are they?

Having cybercriminals target a candy manufacturer right before Halloween should come as no surprise. After all, this is the time they would be the most desperate to get production back up and running, thus increasing the chance of threat actors cashing in. Attackers want to create situations where companies feel like they have no choice but to pay the ransom.

The Takeaway

This attack is a cautionary tale for companies to be especially vigilant as they approach critical moments in their business, whether seasonal, market-driven or otherwise. Do you have a “worst case scenario” plan in the event of a cyber incident during a crucial time to your organization? If not, now is the time. Also, having a strong security posture must be maintained year-round, not rushed and enforced during the vulnerable times of your company’s operation.

Feel like chatting about some ways to improve your company’s resiliency to cyber threats? We’re glad to help.

Stay safe out there

-A