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Update: WestRock reports ransomware incident

The incident has affected the paper and packaging firm’s operational, information technology systems.

February 4, 2021

WestRock Co., a paper and packaging company based in Atlanta, has announced that it detected a ransomware incident Jan. 23, which has affected some of its operational and information technology (IT) systems.

According to a news release from WestRock regarding the incident, the company promptly initiated response and containment protocols upon detection of the incident. The company’s security teams, supplemented by cyber defense firms, are working to remediate the issue. WestRock says it has notified law enforcement and reached out to customers to apprise them of the situation.

WestRock adds that 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 the company is actively managing this incident and plans to continue to do so, it reports that it has caused and could continue to cause delays in parts of its business and could result in a deferral or loss of revenue and incremental costs that may adversely impact its financial results.

As of Jan. 26, WestRock says its security teams, supported by leading cyber defense companies, are continuing to work on remediation of and recovery from this incident. With some exceptions, the company’s operations have continued to run and deliver for customers. In locations where technology issues have been identified, WestRock reports that it is using alternative methods to process and ship orders.

“We are working around the clock to complete our investigation and to restore normalized operations as quickly as possible,” says Steve Voorhees, chief executive officer at WestRock. “WestRock teams are taking extraordinary steps to keep our mills and converting plants operational and to safely deliver to our customers.”

Update from Feb. 4

WestRock provided an update on the ransomware incident Feb. 4. The company says all of its mills and converting locations are producing and shipping paper and packaging. The company’s mill system production through Feb. 4 was about 85,000 tons lower than plan, and the packaging converting operations are close to returning to full planned production levels.

As a result of the incident, shipments from some of WestRock’s facilities have lagged production levels, the company says in a statement. It reports that the gap is closing as systems are restored. It adds that there may be a time lag between the initial incurrence of costs and the receipt of any insurance proceeds as the company’s operations return to normal.

“We remain relentlessly focused on remediating this incident while continuing to safely operate our mills and converting plants,” Voorhees says. “I am proud of the focus and determination of the WestRock team as we manage through this incident and deliver essential products for our customers.”