Mattel admits it was hit by a ransomware attack

The facade of Mattel's corporate headquarters building in El Segundo, California, with a clear blue sky in the background
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Toy manufacturer Mattel has admitted that it was hit by ransomware attack that temporarily impacted some of its business functions but did not lead to any data theft.

The Barbie manufacturer, which is also behind brands as Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels, disclosed that the ransomware attack had taken place on 28 July 2020.

In a quarterly report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Mattel revealed that the ransomware attack “caused data on a number of systems to be encrypted”.

“Promptly upon detection of the attack, Mattel began enacting its response protocols and taking a series of measures to stop the attack and restore impacted systems. Mattel believes it has contained the attack and, although some business functions were temporarily impacted, Mattel was able to restore its critical operations," the toy manufacturer stated in the legal document.

Mattel added that a forensic investigation of the attack found that “no exfiltration of any sensitive business data or retail customer, supplier, consumer, or employee data was identified” and that the incident had “no material impact to Mattel's operations or financial condition”.

Although the company didn’t provide any further details on the nature of the attack, a source told Bleeping Computer that the July incident could have been caused by Trickbot malware, which has since been disrupted by Microsoft.

The tech giant had pulled the plug on Trickbot by obtaining a court order to disable Trickbot’s servers’ IP address as well as collaborated with telecoms worldwide to initiate technical actions to further cripple the botnet.

Trickbot had experienced a resurgence during the 2020 pandemic, taking advantage of the ongoing coronavirus crisis to trick users into downloading malware onto their devices.


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In April, Microsoft 365 Security corporate VP Rob Lefferts described Trickbot as “trendy and pervasive”, while Microsoft Security Intelligence warned that hackers were posing as the “USA Volunteer Organization” and the “USA Humanitarian Group” while sending out hundreds of emails offering free COVID-19 medical advice and testing. Each email aimed to install the Trickbot malware using “unique macro-laced” document attachments.

Prior to this, the TrickBot trojan had been named the most dangerous threat to healthcare in 2019.

IT Pro has reached out to Mattel for comment but has not heard back from the toy manufacturer at the time of publication.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.