Cleaning products maker Clorox Co. is warning of shortages following a cyberattack that struck the company on Aug. 14.
The type of attack was not disclosed, with Clorox only describing it as “unauthorized activity” on some of its information technology systems in an Aug. 14 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing rattles off a standard response: Clorox said it had taken steps to stop and remediate the activity, including taking certain systems offline and had hired third-party cybersecurity experts to support its investigation and recovery efforts.
“To the extent possible, and in line with its business continuity plans, Clorox has implemented workarounds for certain offline operations in order to continue servicing its customers,” the filing states. “However, the incident has caused and is expected to continue to cause disruption to parts of the company’s business operations.”
Clorox further noted that due to the “unauthorized activity,” there will be a material impact in its fiscal first quarter and that it’s premature for the company to estimate what it will mean in the long term, including on its fiscal year outlook. Normal automated order processing is expected to return next week. Clorox said it had already resumed production at most of its manufacturing facilities. However, the company said it could not estimate how long full production would take to return.
Though it’s pure speculation at this point, as no ransomware or hacking group has taken credit for the attack, if it sounds like ransomware, it typically is. That Clorox’s response to the “unauthorized activity” included taking certain systems offline points to malicious code spreading across its network and that the company is struggling to restore services would also indicate that files on certain systems may have been encrypted. Security experts believe it’s a ransomware attack.
“Clorox doesn’t share what type of attack it is, but it sounds in line with other ransomware attacks,” Roger Grimes, data-driven defense evangelist at security awareness training company KnowBe4 Inc., told SiliconANGLE. “This is one of those ever less rare cases where a cyberattack impacted production in a way that can be felt by consumers.”
Grimes noted that Clorox’s share price fell on the news. “What’s missing from the announcement is how it occurred — social engineering, unpatched software, et cetera — and what steps Clorox is taking to make sure the same type of attack doesn’t happen again,” he said.