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Cyberattack cripples sales, inventory systems for dispensaries nationwide

A “targeted” cyber attack on a marijuana software company triggered an outage that hobbled point-of-sales and inventory systems for dispensaries scattered across the United States.

Denver-based MJ Freeway on Sunday morning tweeted it was experiencing an outage of its inventory system and was unable to process transactions. The cause of the “system interruption” was believed to be a cyber attack on its main databases and back-ups, officials told Marijuana Business Daily, which first reported on the outage:

“Our initial analysis indicates that this was a direct attack on MJ Freeway’s infrastructure,” said Jeannette Ward, the company’s director of data and marketing.

The attack hit the company’s main databases as well as its backups, but Ward said no client data was stolen.

With their systems disabled, some dispensaries were forced to close while others chose to take orders and information by hand, resulting in long lines, according to the Marijuana Business Daily report.

“The attack was aimed at corrupting, not extracting, data,” Ward said in an interview with The Cannabist. “What that means is all client-patient data is still protected, still safe, still encrypted and was not viewed by the attackers.”

MJ Freeway employees are working to manually recreate clients’ historical data in addition to moving the clients to a functional system, she said. All clients should be switched over by later this week, she added.

MJ Freeway also is zeroing into the roots of the attack, which brought the system down late Saturday night, she said, noting that a forensic analysis is in place.

Ward declined to disclose information about the source of the attack, adding that MJ Freeway likely will pursue a criminal investigation.

“We also are reaching out to the regulatory and compliance bodies on (our clients’) behalves,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can to be as proactive as we can for our clients.”


This article was first published on TheCannabist.co.