Zegna Menswear Operations Hindered by Ransomware Attack

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • Apr 19, 2022

The popular Italian menswear brand Zegna was recently hit by a ransomware attack. RansomExx hackers illegally accessed and leaked the company’s accounting data to the web. Zegna’s executives decided to allow the stolen documents to be released onto the web rather than pay the requested ransom. The fashion house announced the hack last week.

When Did the Ransomware Attack Occur?

The Zegna ransomware attack occurred in the first week of August 2021. It took Zegna’s brass more than half a year to admit that the hack occurred. The company successfully recovered its systems as they were also stored within its data backup. The company’s foresight in the context of data storage empowered it to restore its systems without shelling out the ransom request. Though Zegna’s leaders announced the unauthorized system access occurred in early August of 2021, it did not reveal the specific type of hack until this month.

What Are the Details of the Hack?

Zegna’s recent public filing with the SEC acknowledged that it was victimized by a ransomware attack that compromised its IT systems. The attack resulted in the theft of the company’s accounting data. The stolen accounting data was posted on the web thereafter. In fact, the data was posted to the web on the exact same day that Zegna’s public relations team admitted its systems were illegally accessed.

As detailed on a form recently filed with the SEC, the data in question was successfully extracted from the fashion house’s IT systems. The paperwork filed with the SEC serves to update Zegna’s investment prospectus in the event of risks tied to cyber-attacks.

How Did Zegna Respond to the Ransomware Attack?

Though Zegna’s leadership refused to cave to the hackers’ demands for the ransom payment, the company successfully restored its internal systems. Zegna restored IT systems spanning several server locations, software applications pertaining to multiple regions, and third-party cloud data. The information was restored with retrieval from its data backup servers. However, it took a couple of weeks for the information to be fully restored. Zegna’s ability to recover from the ransomware attack is a testament to the merits of proactively implementing the proper digital safeguards.

Though Zegna’s systems were well-diversified, backed up, and protected, the ransomware specialists behind the hack were able to break through those barriers to steal highly sensitive financial information. The question is whether the leaking of Zegna’s data to the public on the web will end up costing the company a significant amount of money. The data leak will undoubtedly be a boon to the company’s competition as they will have a better idea of Zegna’s accounting and financial details.

Why is the Zegna Attack Notable?

The Zegna attack is important as it is an excellent example of a company following the advice of digital security specialists. Zegna’s IT team backed up its data for a relatively fast restoration after the ransomware attack. Furthermore, if every company victimized by ransomware responded as Zegna did by refusing to pay the requested funds, ransomware hackers would be forced to make an honest living.  

It is also worth noting Zegna is not a major international corporation. The fact that Zegna has around 6,000 employees is a testament to the fact that ransomware hackers are targeting companies of every size.

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