The company that owns Hula Hoops, McCoy’s, Pom-Bears, Space Raiders, and many other much-loved snacks and crisps have been the victim of a cyberattack that has caused delays and cancellations to deliveries that could “last until the end of March at the earliest.”
A letter first reported on by BetterRetailing from KP Snacks sent to store owners yesterday, said its systems had been “compromised by ransomware” and it “cannot safely process orders or dispatch goods.”
KP Snacks revealed the hack wiped out its IT and communications systems beginning on 28 January. “We have teams working through the resolution, but it is unknown when this will be resolved,” the letter read.
A technology news website called Bleeping Computer uncovered evidence that the prolific Conti crew which in the past 12 months has attacked UK retailer FatFace, the Irish health service and many others, was behind the takedown.
On a dark web leak page, it is reported the group shared samples of some of the data it had exfiltrated, which is understood to include confidential employee data such as home addresses and phone numbers, employment contracts, credit card statements, and even birth certificates.
A spokesperson for KP Snacks said to Sky News: “On Friday, 28 January we became aware that we were, unfortunately, victims of a ransomware incident.
“As soon as we became aware of the incident, we enacted our cybersecurity response plan and engaged a leading forensic information technology firm and legal counsel to assist us in our investigation.
“Our internal IT teams continue to work with third-party experts to assess the situation. We have been continuing to keep our colleagues, customers, and suppliers informed of any developments and apologise for any disruption this may have caused.”
The latest disruption to the crisps and snacks category follows IT issues at rivals Walkers in October, resulting in gaps on shelves that lasted through to the end of December.
The warning message, sent out through groceries wholesaler Nisa, said KP Snacks was going to limit the size of orders to retailers so it could “manage what stock we do have”.
The hackers are threatening to release information stolen from the company’s IT systems to extort it into making a payment to decrypt its files and get its business running again. It is unclear whether KP Snacks are going to pay the ransom or not.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre warns: “Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you will get access to your computer, or your files.”