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Packaging Giant WestRock Says Ransomware Attack Impacted OT Systems

American packaging giant WestRock (NYSE: WRK) on Monday revealed that it was recently targeted in a ransomware attack that impacted both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) systems.

The company has shared few details about the incident, which it discovered on January 23, when it “promptly” initiated response and containment protocols. Law enforcement has been notified and customers are being kept in the loop about the incident, WestRock said in a press release.

“Systems recovery efforts are in process and being implemented as quickly as possible, and teams are working to maintain the Company’s business operations and to minimize the impact on its customers and teammates,” WestRock stated.

It added, “Although WestRock is actively managing this incident and will continue to do so, it has caused and may continue to cause delays in parts of the Company’s business and may result in a deferral or loss of revenue and incremental costs that may adversely impact WestRock’s financial results.”

The value of WestRock stock dropped by more than 4 percent on Monday morning after the breach was disclosed.

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While the extent of the impact on OT systems is unclear, industrial cybersecurity companies and experts have long warned about the threat posed by ransomware.

There are at least seven ransomware families known to target industrial software and a report released last year by IBM and industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos warned that industrial control systems (ICS) powering manufacturing plants and utilities are a prime target for threat groups specializing in ransomware attacks.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reported last year that a ransomware infection at a natural gas compression facility in the United States resulted in a two-day operational shutdown of an entire pipeline asset.

Related: Honeywell Sees Rise in USB-Borne Malware That Can Cause Major ICS Disruption

Related: Echobot Malware Drives Significant Increase in OT Attacks

Related: FireEye Predicts Ransomware Will Evolve and Expand in 2021

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.