Major US candymaker targeted in ransomware attack


Ferrara, the U.S. candy manufacturer behind some of America’s most popular candies, has been hit by a ransomware hack that encrypted its systems at the most inopportune time for a candy-maker — right before Halloween.

The company has its headquarters in Chicago and is the creator of Everlasting Gobstoppers, Lemonheads, Now and Later, Nerds, SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Red Hots, Pixy Stix, Atomic Fireballs, Boston Baked Beans, and other popular candy brands. They also make Keebler brand treats and Famous Amos cookies. 

Ferrara said in an email to The Hill that the company has only been able to resume production “in select manufacturing facilities” but is shipping “near to capacity” and from “all our distribution centers across the country.”

“We are working to process all orders in our queue,” the company added.

This hack, which was disclosed Tuesday, was first spotted at Ferrara on Oct. 9 when the hackers encrypted the company’s computer system and demanded a payment, the company said.

“We immediately responded to secure all systems and commence an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident,” Ferrara said.

Ransomware attacks have escalated in recent years and U.S. officials expect them to continue to increase. 

This past week, Sinclair Broadcast Group was targeted by a ransomware attack. A Treasury Department report found that $590 million had been paid out by victims of ransomware attacks to their attackers in the first half of 2021. Additionally, leaders across the world have called for escalated global cooperation in fighting the increase in these cyber attacks earlier this month. 

Ferrara has told The Hill the company is “Cooperating with law enforcement and our technical team is working closely with third-party specialists to fully restore impacted systems as expeditiously and as safely as possible.” 

“We want to assure consumers that Ferrara’s Halloween products are on shelves at retailers across the country ahead of the holiday.” 

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