Sobeys suffers major system outage after possible cybersecurity attack

A major Canadian grocery retailer's operations have ground to a halt since Friday after what is being described as "a cybersecurity incident."

The hack left computers and associated systems inoperable at Sobeys' over 1,500 stores across Canada, crippling the country's second-largest supermarket chain.

A Sobeys employee who wishes to remain anonymous tells blogTO that the company was indeed "hit with a ransomware attack," adding that "all our computers were down with a message on screen demanding payment or else files were going to be uploaded online."

"Along with our computers being down, our smart carts and self-checkouts were also down. Today, November 5, when I came into work, I found out that all Sobeys stores, including other stores under the Sobeys umbrella, are affected by this attack."

The hack — described as a ransomware attack — has not been confirmed by Sobeys, but another affected company has spoken out about the incident.

The outage also hit packaged meat producer Maple Leaf Foods, which confirmed via a statement on Sunday that the company "is currently experiencing a system outage linked to a cybersecurity incident."

"Upon learning of the incident, Maple Leaf Foods took immediate action and engaged cybersecurity and recovery experts. Its team of information systems professionals and third-party experts are working diligently with all available resources to investigate the outage and resolve the situation."

Maple Leaf stated that it "is executing its business continuity plans as it works to restore the impacted systems; however, it expects that full resolution of the outage will take time and result in some operational and service disruptions."

Sobeys has not yet responded to blogTO's request for a statement on the cybersecurity attack.

Supermarket chains have faced increased scrutiny and negative press over the past several weeks, and the hack comes as members of the public react to grocers' profiting amid a wave of skyrocketing inflation and food costs.

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