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Australian brewer Lion suffers major cyber attack

Australasian dairy and drinks manufacturer Lion was hit by a cyber attack this week, forcing it to shut down its IT systems, which had a knock-on effect on the brewing process.

The attack, which has still not been fully resolved, is thought to have been caused by ransomware, according to an update from Lion posted on its website today (12 June).

As a result of the attack, the company shut down its “key systems as a precaution”. The company said that investigations were continuing and it was calculating how long the attack would continue to affect the business.

“Our focus is on bringing systems back online safely so we can resume our business as usual manufacturing, and customer services. This is taking some time, but it is necessary that we work through this properly,” the statement read.

The attack first came to light on Monday (8 June) this week. The company said it “could not have come at a worse time”, given that the hospitality industry, including pubs, are beginning to open in Australia and New Zealand.

“They [hospitality outlets] are in the early stages of rebuilding, restocking and reengaging their staff, and in New Zealand, are able to operate with no restrictions for the first time in months following the move to Covid-19 Alert Level 1 this week. This has been the most devastating time on record for the hospitality industry,” Lion stated.

Ironically, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the company was able to continue brewing while operating with safety restrictions. However, the attack has “impacted crucial aspects of the brewing process”, due to the reliance on IT infrastructure in the breweries.

Lion has instated manual systems to deal with orders, but admitted that this was “imperfect”. It stated that it does not believe there was a data breach, but is working with government and law enforcement agencies to understand the nature of the issue.

Based in Australia, Lion owns craft beer brands including Panhead and Emerson’s in New Zealand and Australia’s Little World Beverages which produces craft brands such as Little Creatures and White Rabbit. In the UK, it owns Fourpure and Magic Rock.

Its parent company Kirin Holdings, which as well as the Kirin Brewery Company and Kirin Beverage Company, also has a 55% stake in Myanmar Brewery Ltd, jointly owns San Miguel Brewery, and has a 24.5% stake in Brooklyn Brewery.

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