RR Donnelley – Largest U.S. Printer – Suffers Cyber Attack

RR Donnelley – Largest U.S. Printer – Suffers Cyber Attack

As we head into 2022, one of the more common targets for cybercriminals are companies going through a merger or acquisition. That's happening a lot out there today, especially with M&A companies. Cybercriminals are targeting companies that are going through being acquired or merging, and cybercriminals are all over this. They are targeting these companies left and right once they sniff that there's some potential for a merger or acquisition on the horizon.

There's another company today, brand spanking new in the news cycle in the last 24 hours, that's been another victim of this type of cyber attack. A few weeks ago, the FBI put out a bulletin around this exact scenario. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the merger and acquisition industry by gaining access to the networks and deploying ransomware. These hackers then use that as leverage and use the deal as leverage. The hope is that they get a quick payment and quick result from the situation. So let's get into who got attacked and what's going on, and whose potential M&A deal could be in trouble or might not look as sweet as it did the other day to the company that invested in it. So let's get into it.

So there's a large printing company called RR Donnelley, publicly traded, and the RR Donnelley stock slipped after a case of “system intrusion ."Ultimately, what's going on here is that their stock has slipped because they're a publicly-traded company that just disclosed a cyber attack. According to Wikipedia, RR Donnelley is an American Fortune 500 integrated communications company that provides marketing and business communication, commercial printing, and related services. Its corporate headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois, and as of 2007, RR Donnelley was the world's largest commercial printer.

So we have the world's largest commercial printer who has recently disclosed that they had a network intrusion. Going into the event's details, it appears that they had an incident response plan. It seems that they were able to mitigate this attack to some level, although they're being reasonably tight-lipped about it because they're saying they are in the early stages of the investigation. As noted, the stock did slip today. Still, their stock was up recently because there was a transaction with a company called Chatham Asset Management that was planning on taking over or acquiring the business at $10.85 a share.

So it's off a little bit from that share price, and the deal is supposed to close in 2022. So just looking at this from a cyber criminal's point of view, you get in here, do this, and have a foothold on the network. They're scrambling right now to figure out how this even happened, what they got access to, could the company if they do spin up these systems, could the printing company potentially be looking at a ransomware-type of situation? They're not saying what's going on, obviously, for many different reasons. They're a publicly-traded company, and they're under right now probably under an NDA through the acquisition, and this is going to affect that deal potentially.

But again, this is something we're seeing way too often in the M&A space. Cybercriminals are wreaking havoc on companies in the midst of, or who are very close to, an acquisition or merger or some kind of deal to buy or sell a company. If you've ever been involved in these situations, which I have, they get very intense toward the end. For those who have never sold a business, it's pretty similar to selling a home or some significant asset like that. People want to get things done and move on.

Cybercriminals know this, and they know that they have two parties. One wants to get paid. The other one wants to acquire to start making money from their acquisition. Cybercriminals are very good at messing with the psyche of businesspeople to get a quick payment, and that's exactly what you see here.

So heed warnings M&A companies in 2022 that this is a thing. This is something that you're going to have to deal with. Merger and acquisition companies are a prime target right now for cybercriminals, and cybercriminals are very good at targeting your companies, getting in, and getting paid.

They just did it to a Fortune 500 company. I talk to people that work in Fortune 500 companies all the time, and they think they have the best security in the world. I'm here to tell you that they don't because I've evaluated them or had conversations with them, and there is still a long way to go.

The hacking group that got into RR Donnelley proves me right again.

If you're an M & M&A company, we help M&A companies with these types of things so they don't go and buy a company that could be under attack or has been attacked in the past, and maybe that door is still open for a future attack.

When you do announce your M&A deal, remember, these are the things that we're seeing, and make sure that the portfolio companies you have are secure. They're doing everything they need to do so that one day you don't end up with a company that you think is worth, I don't know, a few hundred million dollars, and then your company gets hit with ransomware, and they're not worth anything. So this is critical stuff for the M&A industry. I hope they take heed. But again, we have RR Donnelley, a major printing company, one of the world's largest and oldest printing and marketing companies in the United States, has fell victim to a cyber-attack here on December 28th, 2021.