On Friday, hundreds of American companies were simultaneously subjected to an unusually complex cyber attack that hijacked widely used technology management software from a supplier called Kaseya in Miami. One of Sweden’s largest food chains, Coop, said the attack involved a device used to remotely upgrade cash registers, meaning it could not handle purchases of goods, cash registers and payments.
“We have been working on troubleshooting and restoration all night, but we were told we need to keep stores closed today,” Kobes spokeswoman Therese Knapp told Swedish TV, according to Reuters.
Swedish news agency TT learns that Kaseya’s technology has been used by the Swedish company Visma Esscom, which operates servers and hardware for several companies in the Scandinavian country. Public rail services and the pharmacy network also suffered disruptions.
Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish television that the attack was “extremely dangerous” and showed that companies and government agencies need to improve their preparedness against cybercriminals.
“In another geopolitical situation, government actors may attack us in this way to stop society and create chaos,” Hultqvist warned.
During Friday’s attack, hackers altered a device called the Kaseya VSA, which is used by companies that run digital services for small businesses. Then, at the same time, they encrypted the files of these providers’ clients and demanded a ransom to restore the services.
In May, the largest gas pipeline network in the United States was hit by a cyber attack that caused a service outage.