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How a Coca-Cola Bottler Became a Victim of Ransomware

How a Coca-Cola Bottler Became a Victim of Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated, targeting organizations of all sizes and sectors. One of the latest victims is Viking Coca-Cola, a US-based company that produces and distributes Coca-Cola products in several states. According to reports, the company’s data was stolen and posted on a dark web blog by a cybercriminal group called Black Basta.

What happened?

Black Basta is a ransomware gang that emerged in 2022 and is believed to be linked to the notorious FIN7 group, a cybercrime syndicate that has been active for over a decade. Black Basta uses a double-extortion tactic, which involves encrypting the victim’s data and threatening to leak it online if the ransom is not paid.

On May 18, 2023, security researcher Dominic Alvieri reported that Viking Coca-Cola was uploaded to Black Basta’s leak site, a dark web blog where the gang showcases its latest victims. The post did not reveal what type of data was stolen or how much ransom was demanded, but it indicated that no data had been leaked yet, suggesting that negotiations were still ongoing.

Viking Coca-Cola is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the US, with 10 production facilities and over 1,000 employees. The company has not publicly confirmed or denied the breach, but it is reportedly investigating the matter and coordinating with law enforcement.

What are the implications?

The ransomware attack on Viking Coca-Cola is another example of how cybercriminals are targeting critical infrastructure and supply chains, disrupting business operations and potentially exposing sensitive information. The attack could have serious consequences for the company’s reputation, customer trust, legal liability, and financial losses.

Moreover, the attack could also affect other companies in the Coca-Cola ecosystem, such as suppliers, distributors, retailers, and consumers. For instance, if the stolen data includes customer information, such as names, addresses, payment details, or loyalty program data, it could be used for identity theft, fraud, phishing, or spamming. If the data includes trade secrets, such as recipes, formulas, or contracts, it could be sold to competitors or used for industrial espionage.

How to prevent and respond to ransomware attacks?

Ransomware attacks are difficult to prevent and recover from, but there are some best practices that organizations can follow to reduce their risk and mitigate their impact. Some of these include:

– Implementing a robust backup strategy that involves regularly backing up data to multiple locations (such as cloud storage or external drives) and testing the backups for integrity and usability.
– Updating and patching systems and applications to fix any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware.
– Educating and training employees on how to spot and avoid phishing emails and malicious attachments or links that could deliver ransomware.
– Using antivirus software and firewalls to detect and block ransomware infections.
– Implementing a ransomware incident response plan that outlines roles and responsibilities, communication channels, recovery procedures, and contingency plans.
– Reporting any ransomware incidents to law enforcement authorities and seeking professional help from cybersecurity experts.

Ransomware attacks are a serious threat to any organization that relies on data for its operations. By following these best practices, organizations can enhance their cybersecurity posture and resilience against ransomware.

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