Mon | Jan 25, 2021 | 4:02 PM PST

Things you buy at the grocery store come in the packaging their team creates.

But now, WestRock, America's second largest packaging company, says its network and production are disrupted because of a ransomware attack.

The company is known for paper and packaging solutions, including products such as corrugated containers, folding cartons, and even custom machines for packaging automation.

The WestRock Company announced on January 23 that it had detected a ransomware incident which may have a material impact on earnings.

WestRock ransomware incident

In a company statement, WestRock said the ransomware incident has impacted both its information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) systems.

The company is now sharing its initial incident response:

"Promptly upon its detection of the incident, the Company initiated response and containment protocols...

Systems recovery efforts are in process and being implemented as quickly as possible, and teams are working to maintain the Company’s business operations and to minimize the impact on its customers and teammates.

Although WestRock is actively managing this incident and will continue to do so, it has caused and may continue to cause delays in parts of the Company's business and may result in a deferral or loss of revenue and incremental costs that may adversely impact WestRock's financial results."

How did investors take the news? On Monday, WestRock Company's (NYSE: WRK) stock price fell 5.49% during regular trading.

OT cyberattacks are a growing risk

The WestRock incident is a prime example of how a cyberattack on manufacturing and other OT systems can be leveraged by cybercriminals to do damage to an organization.

This is especially true as these systems become increasingly modern and built of connected devices that are part of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

During a SecureWorld Remote Session, our team had a fireside chat with Phil Quade, CISO at Fortinet and former NSA official. He's an expert in OT security and says a growing number of organizations are taking it seriously, because the technology makes it possible:

"The cybersecurity of today is becoming connected enough and reliable enough that it can allow you to implement the newest features without risking a catastrophic loss to availability and reliability. So, I think that cybersecurity has shifted, and it's becoming more of an enabler rather than a burden. I think more and more we'll see cybersecurity creep into additional OT environments and they will become more connected."

More connectivity means more data, more control, and a necessary mind shift in securing all of it:

"We very much live in a data-centric world. And those who can put that data in one place, govern, and safeguard it will be the ones that have the biggest competitive advantage in this new world. And I think we need to recognize that that there's a whole lot more data that's about to be generated."

Be sure to check out SecureWorld's upcoming Remote Sessions webcasts, as they can help you and your organization navigate both privacy and security challenges.