As COVID cases flare and flu season looms, Clorox is warning that it could be harder for consumers to find its products.
The bleach and cleaning-wipe company says a cyberattack forced it to take certain systems offline, which resulted in “a reduced rate of operations” starting Aug. 14. That’s still ongoing and Clorox, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said as a result it has “recently begun to experience an elevated level of consumer product availability issues.”
It’s a long way from the shortages people saw during the heart of the pandemic, but the timing isn’t ideal. Clorox says it expects to begin transitioning to normal production levels again next week, but cautioned “at this time, the Company cannot estimate how long it will take to resume fully normalized operations.”
The cyberattack damaged parts of the company’s IT infrastructure, it added, causing “widescale disruption” of its operations. And because of the delays and product outages, Clorox said it expects the impact “will be material on Q1 financial results”. It declined to comment on longer-term impacts.
The Clorox hack might have happened in August, but it’s the third high-profile cybersecurity event in the past month or so. MGM is still recovering from a ransomware attack that took many of its systems offline in Las Vegas and other properties and resulted in check-in times that ran several hours at some hotels. Caesar’s said it, too, had been hacked by ransomware operators, but had paid the demand and did not suffer interruptions to its operations.
The Clorox shortages come as respiratory disease season gets under way. So far, cases have been low, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned it’s still early.
“Flu activity in the United States is currently low and although the timing, intensity, and severity of the upcoming flu season cannot be predicted, it is likely to increase over the fall and winter,” the CDC wrote.
“RSV activity in the United States is also low currently and is likely to increase.”