Maker of British treats, KP Snacks, hit with ransomware attack


British snack brand maker KP Snacks was hit with a ransomware attack that grabbed confidential employee information and disrupting the company's production and distribution. — dpa

The maker of popular British snack brands was the victim of a ransomware attack last week, the company confirmed on Wednesday, the latest hack to disrupt food supplies.

KP Snacks said it was investigating the January 28 incident and has notified its customers and suppliers. "Our internal IT teams continue to work with third-party experts to assess the situation,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

The company produces widely sold snacks in the U.K., including McCoy’s potato chips, and is part of Dusseldorf, Germany-based Intersnack Group GmbH & Co KG.

A ransomware group known as Conti posted files on private areas of its website that appear to show samples of charge card statements, birth certificates and other confidential employee information. The files were reviewed by Bloomberg News.

The dark web intelligence service DarkFeed posted a screenshot Tuesday that showed Conti threatening to publicly release company data.

A KP Snacks spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a question from Bloomberg News asking how long the company expects disruptions to last. The publication betterRetailing.com reported that the snackmaker warned its retailers that delays may continue through the end of March.

In December, a cyberattack against Wisconsin’s Schreiber Foods was partly responsible for a cream cheese shortage, leaving bagel shops and bakeries struggling for supplies during the busy holiday season. Another ransomware incident at the meat processor JBS SA also interrupted production in May.

Such breaches have had a direct impact on the availability of products on supermarket shelves over the past year, said Jeremy Kennelly, senior manager for financial crime analysis at the security firm Mandiant Inc.

The increasing prevalence of such attacks shows how they can have an impact far beyond the companies targeted with ransomware, given the "interconnectedness” of the consumer economy, he said. – Bloomberg

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