August 2, 2021

Sweden: 800 supermarkets suddenly closed after a hacker attack – economy

Suddenly nothing worked here anymore!

The Swedish supermarket chain Coop, one of the largest grocery stores in the country, had to close EVERY of its 800 branches on Saturday.

Reason: a large-scale cyber attack! The attack blocked the cash register systems, said a company spokeswoman.

An employee rejects customers in front of a closed Coop branchPhoto: picture alliance / TT NYHETSBYR? N

The state railways and a pharmacy chain also reported disruptions. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist (62) spoke of a very dangerous attack.

“In another geopolitical situation, state actors could attack us in this way to cripple society and wreak havoc,” the minister said on television.

Sweden's Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist (62)

Sweden’s Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist (62)Photo: picture alliance / TT NYHETSBYR? N

“A huge and devastating attack”

According to the TT news agency, the target of the attack in Sweden was software from the US provider Kaseya used in many companies. He had already stated on Friday that his VSA software might have been hacked.

The tool is used by IT service providers to manage the computer systems of corporate customers. Kaseya recommended that VSA users shut down their servers immediately.

According to the US security service provider Huntress, eight IT service providers and around 200 corporate customers were affected in the USA. “This is a huge and devastating attack on supply chains,” said Huntress manager John Hammond.

The hackers make millions with the attacks

The company suspects the REvil group to be behind the attack. The FBI is already blaming REvil for an attack on the world’s largest meat company, JBS, in which hackers extorted eleven million dollars.

In the USA, the state and business are fighting a wave of attacks with blackmail software (ransomware). The data of the attacked systems are encrypted. The hackers often demand millions in crypto currencies to release the data.

Hackers also extorted millions of dollars from the US oil pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline. An attack on the US software manufacturer SolarWinds, which affected thousands of users, also caused a stir.