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Headlines regularly feature “Hack,” “Breach” or “Cybersecurity,” but it’s not often that we feel the brunt of these on our dinner plate, or in this case, salad bowl. You may think of pineapple (or sliced fruit cups) when you think of Dole, or maybe Dole Whips (anybody wanna make a Disney trip?). But the most recent high-profile hack resulted in Dole’s packaged salads and salad kits being absent from store shelves.

The hack was confirmed by representatives of Dole in a press release on February 22nd, who referred to it as a “cybersecurity incident.” The brief admission included sparse details on the hack’s impacts or origin but Dole confirmed the attack was “identified as ransomware.”

Ransomware is a leading threat to manufacturers, small businesses, and large companies. Ransomware involves infecting a system with malware, taking control and locking that system with encryption and demanding ransom. The press release confirmed the involvement of third-party cybersecurity experts and the appropriate law enforcement. The release concluded that the impact on Dole operations had been limited.

CNN reported that the attack temporarily shut down North American production plants and prevented grocery store shipments. Meanwhile, customers in at least two states found their local grocery stores devoid of packaged salads. The full impact and cost will likely never be known outside of Dole’s boardroom but we know that ransomware is a costly threat making headlines daily.

According to the official US government website dedicated to stopping ransomware, businesses can take various steps to prevent ransomware, mitigate its impacts and respond if a cyber incident occurs. Take a peek at the comprehensive guide here

About the Author
Brian Vigna is an instructional designer in the professional learning and instructional design unit for NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). Brian has worked as an adult educator, trainer and instructional designer for more than eight years. Brian has taught a variety of certification and professional development courses at the collegiate level as well as in collaboration with the United States government. Brian is currently certified in CISSP, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Cloud Essentials. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional, AWS Solutions Architect and an AWS Cloud Practitioner. Brian is also currently pursuing a M.S. in education from NC State University.