A new disruption is on the horizon for grocery store shoppers as a cyberattack has impacted the availability of Clorox cleaning supplies. As flu season approaches, customers may find empty spaces where their favorite Clorox products once stood.
In a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Clorox Company revealed that it had detected unauthorized activity on some of its information technology systems. As a result, the company was forced to process orders manually, leading to slower operations and a limited supply of its products.
According to Clorox, the cyberattack damaged parts of its IT infrastructure, causing widespread disruption to its operations. The breach was discovered on August 11 and was subsequently disclosed in an S.E.C. filing three days later. The company expects to return to automated processing of orders in the coming week but did not provide an estimate for when normal operations would resume. Clorox stated that the cyberattack continues to cause disruptions to its business operations.
Clorox is not the only company facing cyberattacks. MGM Resorts International recently reported a “cybersecurity issue” that affected its online systems, causing disruptions for customers, particularly in Las Vegas. Cyberattacks have also targeted gasoline pipelines, hospitals, grocery chains, and even one of the world’s largest meat processors.
These cyberattacks have contributed to market upheavals in consumer goods, exacerbated by the pandemic. Consumers have experienced panic-buying of essential items like toilet paper and cleaning products, as well as shortages of baby formula, lumber, and computer chips. Even the avian flu has impacted the market, leading to high egg prices earlier this year.
Clorox’s cybersecurity issues are expected to affect access to popular products like wipes and cleaning materials such as Pine-Sol, just as consumer concerns over flu season increase. While seasonal influenza viruses are detected year-round in the United States, they typically circulate more widely during the fall and winter.
Clorox has resumed production and is working to fulfill shipments and communicate with customers about their immediate needs. However, the company has been unable to quantify the impact of the cyberattack due to delays and product outages.
As the grocery industry grapples with this new disruption, shoppers may need to adjust their expectations and consider alternative cleaning products. It serves as a reminder of the vulnerabilities of our interconnected world and the importance of cybersecurity in safeguarding essential services and supplies.