Bizerba (Germany) - Press Release: Almost eight months have passed since the cyberattack on the international scale manufacturer Bizerba. Basic functions were restored after a few weeks, while the establishment of a new IT landscape took several months. In retrospect, the attack also brought about issues that delivered positive change to the company for the long term.
During the night of 2022-06-27, a cyberattack was carried out on the IT systems of the solution specialist Bizerba using the ransomware ‘Lockbit’. This is a ransomware-as-a-service software that is operated on the ‘darknet’. The attack resulted in prompt security shutdown of all global systems. The IT security and forensics experts brought in immediately after the incident started analyzing the attack and restarting the systems. According to the company's information, there has also been very good cooperation with the authorities and the Esslingen police department from the very beginning. Questions about a possible ransom payment are now publicly denied by Andreas W. Kraut, CEO & shareholder of Bizerba: “We at Bizerba have not allowed ourselves to be blackmailed by any group.”
The entire Bizerba portfolio, consisting of hardware and software solutions, was able to be released for delivery and installation in a timely fashion after extensive examinations in cooperation with specialists. After a few weeks, all basic business functions were restored. In the months that followed, the focus was on getting the remaining systems and applications up and running so that “normal” work could resume throughout the company.
New structures instead of restructuring:
After the cyberattack in June, Bizerba quickly began to rebuild their entire IT landscape. With new processes, structures, and systems, the solution specialist wants to provide more security for itself and its customers in the future. “After the cyberattack, we weren't just concerned with getting the old systems back up and running. We wanted to learn from the attack, improve, and become more confident. True to the motto ‘build back better’. And that is exactly what we have achieved with the new structure of our IT landscape. This has also been confirmed by various tests”, Dr. Christian Hürter, Director of Global IT at Bizerba, explains. The many changes and innovations had already been planned on the roadmap before the attack – but only for the upcoming years. “What we have accomplished in the last few months would take several years under normal circumstances. And that is the big advantage that we as Bizerba take from this situation. We are well prepared for the future”, Hürter adds.
New structures move the company forward:
Michael Berke is Vice President for Global Sales & Marketing at Bizerba. In the days and weeks following the attack, he and the global sales team had the challenge of actively informing all customers in order to answer questions and eliminate doubts. Today, however, the topic even gives him a boost. He says: “Our solutions are more secure than ever and we can now offer our customers a new level of security. In discussions with customers, we are very well able to bring this experience to bear and offer an active exchange of experience. The safety of the products is always in the foreground for our customers as well as for us. We were able to make our remote services, which we are increasingly focusing on in the interests of sustainability, even more secure. We can also guarantee important assistance if customers themselves are affected by a cyberattack. This is a great added value for us as a total solution provider—especially when you see the ever-increasing number of attacks in the industry”. Of course, there is still homework to be done, but the new structures have already made a noticeable difference to the company and its customers, Berke adds.
The question is not if, but when:
Experts repeatedly explain that it's not a question of whether a company can be attacked—but only when it will happen and how to respond. Jochen Müller, certified Chief Information Security Officer at Bizerba, knows this too: “We were already doing well and it still hit us hard. So our precautions had to get even better”. In this context, he likes to draw the comparison to someone living in a hurricane area: “When the hurricane comes, it's important that I don't have to go to the hardware store to buy lumber to protect the doors and windows. Everything should already be in place. Because then the damage can be kept as low as possible”. Müller is also aware that a global market leader like Bizerba could come under attack again: “We will never be ‘done’ with building our IT security. No one is in this respect. But we have now reached the best possible level and are better positioned than many comparable companies on the market. This has been confirmed to us by leading security service providers”.
The weighing equipment manufacturer, like the rest of the global economy, also faced impairments in worldwide supply chains and a weakening global economy last year. Then there was the cyberattack, which brought major challenges. In the meantime, however, Andreas W. Kraut looks back on the last few months with satisfaction and draws a positive conclusion: “The attack has brought the entire Bizerba family even closer together worldwide and spurred us all on incredibly. And now we even expect a sales volume this financial year that will exceed the record year of 2021. Let’s see someone else do that!”