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Lion cyber attack stalls operations

Beverages giant Lion has been forced to shut down its IT systems in the wake of a cyber attack on the business.

The Australian company behind brands such as Dairy Farmers and XXXX Gold reported the shutdown on Tuesday, saying it would cause some disruption to its suppliers and customers.

“Lion has experienced a cyber incident and has taken the precaution of shutting down our IT systems, causing some disruption to our suppliers and customers,” the company said in a statement.

While the attack could impact supply in Lion’s dairy and juice business, increased brewing ahead of COVID-19 restrictions easing, is expected to offset any shortfall of beer.

Lion said it is working with expert advisors to address the issue.

“We have alerted the authorities and are working hard to minimise disruption to customers and suppliers,” the company said.

Damien Manuel, director of Cyber Security – Research and Innovation Centre at Deakin University told Inside FMCG that there has been an increase in individuals being targeted via phishing (email), smishing (SMS) and vishing (voice), with so many people working from home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This is mainly due to the rapid change businesses and organisations have undergone as they deal with the pandemic and the workforce adjustments. Business processes and procedures have had to adapt quickly, which opens opportunities for exploitation by cyber criminals,” he said.

Manuel said the impact on a business will be varied depending on the type of attack.

“Ransomware and destruction of systems would have massive impacts. Theft of data would have customer / supplier trust implications – and legal impacts,” he said.

Lion said it will provide further updates on the situation when it is in a position to do so and thanked suppliers and customers for their patience.

The beverages giant is the subject of a $600 million takeover by China’s Mengniu Dairy. In February, the ACCC gave the acquisition the all-clear after initial concerns that the deal could impact competition for the purchase of raw milk in the Gippsland region.

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