A real-world cost of Ransomware

Reckitt Benckiser, a UK-based global company and the owner of global power brands like Nurofen, Dettlo & Durex could have a financial loss in the high millions after announcing that it had fallen victim to the NotPetya ransomware on the 27th June 2017.  Operating in 60 countries and employing over 36,000 people it said the effects where felt in many of it’s geographic locations.

In a 4th July 2017 update, Reckitt Benckiser confirmed that it was progressing well with recovery and getting key applications and systems back online allowing normal trading conditions to resume.  During this period they confirmed that they were not able to ship and invoice orders to customers and this had an impact on its quarterly trading period announced in a statement (Update on cyber-attack – and estimate of financial effect) released on the 6th July 2017.

While previously forecasting a 3 percent growth, this was revised to 2 percent for the period.  An estimated loss of 1 percent of annual sales would equate to about £90m ($117) and saw shares fall as much as 3.2 percent in early London trading.  While NotPetya is a major contributing factor, the new Goods and Service Tax in India resulted in reduced orders and the revised profit warning.

While the ransomware began spreading in the Ukraine, other global companies like FedEx Corp. A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and WPP joined the ranks while Stern magazine reporting that Nivea skin-care maker Beiersdorf AG suffered “many millions of Euros worth of damage as a result”.

Companies of all sizes need to take heed to these reports.  Adapting to local and global economic changes, downturns and restraints can be expensive and resource hungry in it’s on right, but the added burden and untimely event of a cyber-attack like WannaCry and NotPetya is not only unwelcome in today’s landscape, but can also be devastating.

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