Malware, Ransomware

Sierra Wireless withdraws financial guidance as ransomware attack takes down plants

(“Sierra Wireless Developer Day 2014” by Sierra Wireless Developer Program (T Cantegrel) is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Leading internet of things solutions provider Sierra Wireless reported Tuesday that it was the target of a ransomware attack on its internal IT systems.

An announcement the company issued said the incident took place March 20, and as a result of the attack, Sierra Wireless halted production at its manufacturing sites.

The company’s website and other internal operations have also been disrupted by the attack. Sierra Wireless officials believe the company will restart production at these facilities and resume normal operations very soon.

Once the company learned of the attack, its IT and operations teams put countermeasures in place in tandem with a third-party provider. As of Tuesday, Sierra Wireless said it addressed the attack and has been working to bring its internal systems back online. The company believes the impact of the attack was limited to Sierra Wireless systems, because the company maintains a clear separation between its internal systems and customer networks.

Because of the disruptions caused by the ransomware incident, Sierra Wireless also withdrew the Q1 2021 financial guidance provided Feb. 23, 2021. That a ransomware attack could bring a complete manufacturing company to a halt and force it to retract its financial outlook is quite unusual, said Dirk Schrader, global vice president, security research at New Net Technologies.

“It might indicate that the attackers were able to move laterally with little hinderance, resulting in a production disruption" that would certainly result in a hit to performance, Schrader said. “Another possibility is that the company is trying to prevent the inclusion of compromised code into its products.”

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