Sobeys, Safeway grappling with IT points as Maple Leaf Meals publicizes cybersecurity incident

Sobeys, Safeway grappling with IT points as Maple Leaf Meals publicizes cybersecurity incident

Some shops throughout Canada owned by Empire Firm Ltd., together with Sobeys, Safeway and affiliated pharmacy companies, proceed to expertise disruptions as a result of an data know-how techniques concern.

Empire, which owns Sobeys, Lawtons, IGA, Safeway, Farm Boy, Foodland and FreshCo, amongst different manufacturers, introduced Monday an IT downside is stopping a few of its pharmacies from filling prescriptions.

The problem has additionally prompted some companies to be delayed or to operate solely intermittently.

A information launch from the corporate stated it’s working to treatment the issue, however couldn’t estimate when all companies will probably be restored.

“At Sobeys, exceeding the wants of our prospects is at all times our prime precedence,” stated chief working officer Pierre St-Laurent within the information launch. “Our sole focus proper now’s on getting this downside rectified and we’ll present additional updates as related data turns into accessible.”

A handwritten sign at a Sobeys store in Halifax on Monday says "Sorry gift cards system is down."
An indication at a Sobeys retailer in Halifax displays one of many system outages the chain was experiencing on Monday morning. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

The CBC contacted the corporate to ask questions concerning the IT concern, however an emailed response merely pointed to the information launch.

Over the weekend, some pharmacy workers instructed the CBC they weren’t in a position to entry their computer systems, however that they might provide prospects with a couple of days’ price of remedy if prospects introduced their empty bottles.

Maple Leaf publicizes ‘cybersecurity incident’

In the meantime, Maple Leaf Meals introduced in a information launch late Sunday evening {that a} “cybersecurity incident” prompted a system outage on the firm.

The corporate stated it grew to become conscious of the problem over the weekend and instantly started working with cybersecurity and restoration specialists, data techniques professionals and third-party specialists to analyze the outage.

Maple Leaf stated it expects ongoing service and operational disruptions as it really works to resolve the outage, and stated it doesn’t have an estimated time for restoration.

The corporate declined an interview. In an emailed assertion, Maple Leaf stated the disruptions “range by enterprise unit, plant and web site.”

‘One thing is simply not proper’

Sylvain Charlebois, the director of the Agri-Meals Analytics Lab at Dalhousie College, stated he started to obtain messages from folks on Friday evening about points at Empire, together with copies of inner firm letters.

He stated the dearth of public data coming from Empire makes him suspect the problem is extra important than a easy data know-how downside. He stated corporations would seemingly be extra forthcoming about that.

“However they are not proper now, which begs the query, what is actually happening right here? … I imply, Maple Leaf was clear, it is a cybersecurity concern, so it might probably imply a complete lot of various issues, however they had been clear. Whereas Sobeys, it is unclear. So numerous query marks, however you may really feel that one thing is simply not proper.”

Charlebois stated the state of affairs reminds him of final 12 months’s ransomware assault on the world’s largest meat processing firm, JBS. The Brazil-based firm paid $11 million US to hackers who broke into the pc system.

Ransomware assaults use malware put in on a pc to permit folks to lock and maintain knowledge or data for ransom.

Customers line up to pay for items at a Sobeys in Halifax on Monday.
Clients line as much as pay for objects at a Sobeys in Halifax. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

“JBS is a multibillion-dollar firm, OK? It is one of many largest meals corporations on this planet. If it needed to pay a ransom, I can not think about how a lot stress some Canadian corporations are beneath. They are much smaller and fewer resourceful,” Charlebois stated.

He stated he does not see a lot proof that cybersecurity has been taken significantly by the agri-food trade, and he is fearful extra assaults will happen within the sector sooner or later.

“Your complete meals system works on the idea that computer systems will talk with one another,” he stated. “In order quickly as you could have a cyberattack disrupting the effectivity of provide chains, prices may go up. Even worse, entry to meals may additionally change into an issue. You might really see many shops with none provides for days and you don’t need that to occur.”

The CBC requested Sobeys if its IT concern was a ransomware or cybersecurity concern. The corporate didn’t reply.

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