Sticky business: Ransomware hits U.S. candymaker ahead of Halloween

·1 min read

A major U.S. candy company is struggling to fill orders before Halloween after ransomware hackers encrypted its systems.

Ferrara, the Chicago-based manufacturer of candies like SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Red Hots, Lemonhead candies, Boston Baked Beans, Atomic Fireballs, Pixy Stix and Everlasting Gobstoppers, has been able to resume production only “in select manufacturing facilities,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

Ransomware, a pernicious form of cybercrime where hackers take over an organization’s computers and demand payment to let them go and not leak files to the public, has been used to extort businesses worldwide for billions of dollars in recent years. Even the food supply chain isn’t safe: In recent weeks, hackers have locked at least three Midwestern grain distributors.

Ferrara first noticed that hackers were encrypting its computers and demanding a payment on Oct. 9, and has hired outside experts to help restore its systems, the statement said. It disclosed the attack on Tuesday.

The spokesperson declined to say what percentage of orders it expected to fill before Halloween. All of its candy distribution centers are currently shipping out products, the spokesperson said.

“We appreciate our employees’ and customers’ patience and understanding,” the spokesperson said.

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