Maple Leaf Foods has rejected a ransom demand following a cyberattack at the Canadian protein supplier.
The meat and plant-based alternative producer previously described the breach on 6 November as “comprehensive”, causing a system outage and prompting the Mississauga-based firm to employ “workaround” contingencies.
In an update, Maple Leaf said in a statement provided to Just Food: “Unfortunately, we know that the people behind this incident were able to gain unauthorised access to some of our data and they are threatening to release it unless we pay a ransom, which we will not do.”
The owner of the Field Roast and Lightlife meat-free brands added: “The illegal acts that compromised our system and potentially put information at risk are intolerable and our company will not pay ransom to criminals. We are asking responsible people – including those in the media – not to entertain any ‘leads’ they get from stolen or compromised data and not to contact anyone based on illegally obtained information.”
To protect employees, Maple Leaf is providing two years of “credit-monitoring services”, it said, without revealing specific information on the data breach.
“We’re sorry this occurred and apologise for the frustration and challenges it may cause,” the company said in the statement. “We have invested significant resources into the security of our systems and take the confidentiality and security of the information in our possession very seriously. We are being vigilant in our response, taking purposeful action to do what we believe is right to minimise any disruption.”
While CEO Michael McCain, addressing analysts on third-quarter results call earlier this month, conceded operations did not run “optimally” on the Sunday of the cyberattack, Maple Leaf was able to keep its plants running.
“We immediately implemented our business continuity plans, and thanks to the tireless efforts of our team members, we are proud to report that all of our plants continued operating,” the company noted in the update.
“Working with our world-class experts, we have been able to quickly and safely restore our systems. We continue to coordinate with our customers, suppliers and other partners, and appreciate their ongoing cooperation and support as our operations return to normal.”