- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Arizona Beverages is reeling from a cyberattack that sidelined one of the nation’s largest drink suppliers, a report said Tuesday.

TechCrunch reported that Arizona is recovering from a ransomware infection that recently compromised scores of servers and computers used by the New York-based drink maker and distributor known for its tall cans of iced teas.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, TechCrunch reported that Arizona became aware of the incident after more than 200 of the company’s networked computers began displaying the same message last month: “Your network was hacked and encrypted.”

Ransom messages displayed on hacked computers mentioned Arizona by name, indicating the company was targeted as opposed to randomly hit, the report said.

Samples seen by the website suggest Arizona was hacked with iEncrypt, a specific type of ransomware strain, likely as a result of a separate infection that may have happened months earlier, according to the source.

The FBI contacted Arizona weeks earlier to warn about an infection involving Dridex, a different type of malware strain that hackers could have harnessed to launch the ransomware attack, the source told TechCrunch.

Arizona ultimately hired an outside firm to handle the hack, TechCrunch, albeit five days after the ransom message began appearing March 21, the website reported

Two weeks later, Arizona is only “about 60 percent up and running,” said the source.

The infection had crippled the company’s email system and prevented employees from using their computers to process customer orders for nearly a week, the source said.

“We were losing millions of dollars a day in sales,” said the source. “It was a complete [expletive] show.”

The FBI declined to comment, and Arizona did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Launched in 1992, annual sales of Arizona exceeded 18 million cases within three years, Forbes reported in 2017. Arizona reached a deal in 2002 to use the likeness and name of golf legend Arnold Palmer for a combination iced tea-lemonade drink, and the company sold about 500 million of those beverages in 2016, that report said.

The FBI’s cybercrime division previously reported received 2,673 complaints this year involving ransomware, including infections totaling over $2.4 million in losses.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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