Food Shortages at Dutch Supermarkets After Ransomware Outage

There were empty shelves at branches of the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain recently after a ransomware attack on a key logistics supplier.

With over 1000 locations around the country, Albert Heijn is an industry giant. Yet the supermarket firm suffered major food shortages after the cyber-attack on key supplier Bakker Logistiek, according to local reports.

Among the foodstuffs most affected by the attack were deliveries of packaged cheese. A note on the Albert Heijn website currently warns of a “technical malfunction” affecting supplies.

“The logistics service provider is working hard to solve the problem as quickly as possible and to quickly restore availability. We apologize for the inconvenience,” it notes.

The attack itself occurred over the Easter weekend and forced Bakker Logistiek to return to pen and paper as IT pulled the plug on digital systems.

That meant orders were not coming in or being fulfilled in warehouses, as the whole process is usually highly automated for maximum efficiency.

Cheese deliveries were reportedly held up for three days, creating a backlog of orders and supermarket shortages.

Bakker Logistiek spokesperson, Toon Verhoeven, said the firm had worked hard to get systems back online over the past week and that stocks were finally being shipped.

He refused to speculate on whether the ransomware actors had been paid or not, claiming that the case is now with the police.

According to one report, he claimed the attackers may have gained an initial foothold inside the network after compromising a Microsoft Exchange Server — exploiting the infamous ProxyLogon vulnerability. However, there’s no official confirmation on this yet.

A December report from non-profit the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) claimed that financially motivated cyber-criminals are increasingly eschewing traditional data breaches in favor of ransomware and Business Email Compromise (BEC) — as these attacks have a bigger and better ROI.

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