Cyberattack halts some operations at Crown Equipment

The company attributed the malicious attack to an international cybercriminal organization.

Crown Equipment has experienced a cyberattack that required the company to temporarily shut down its operating systems to investigate and resolve the matter, the company said Wednesday.

The company attributed the malicious attack to an international cybercriminal organization.

“Crown reported that its ongoing security measures played a key role in helping to limit the effects of the attack,” the company said in its statement. “The company is working with some of the world’s leading cybersecurity experts as well as federal law enforcement to analyze the data and determine the appropriate next steps.”

The information technology problems have temporarily halted manufacturing, the company first acknowledged in response to questions from the Dayton Daily News last week.

In company voice mail messages sent to the Dayton Daily News, human resource representatives of the company gave some details about the problems facing the company.

One voice mail message shared with employees on Sunday June 9 said: “Crown is currently experiencing a disruption to our IT operations. As a result, our manufacturing operations throughout the New Bremen areas, Green Castle ... and New Castle will be suspended until first shift Tuesday June 11.”

Another message sent to employees on Tuesday, June 11, said the company was making progress on the IT front, but wasn’t ready to begin manufacturing in Troy, the “New Bremen areas,” Celina, Minster, New Knoxville, Fort Loramie and other sites until first shift on Monday, June 17.”

Some manufacturing area “alternate work activities” in some areas were expected to continue, that message said. “Those employees have already been notified.”

“Office employees at these locations should not report to their respective offices due to system access issues unless otherwise directed by their manager. Those who are able to work from home should do so,” that message also said.

A Crown spokesman declined to comment on the voicemail messages.

It’s unclear how many of the company’s manufacturing sites have resumed operations at this point.

Crown makes lift trucks and material handling equipment. Those products are in-demand in the world of e-commerce, where almost anything you buy gets moved by a forklift.

The company, based in New Breman, in Auglaize County, had about 5,000 employees in Ohio and was one of the state’s Top 70 employers before the COVID-19 pandemic. Its workforce at that time had grown by 50 percent in the previous five years.

The company has nine manufacturing sites in the immediate area around New Bremen, where five plants are located.

“They have grown their own eco-system, if you will,” Glenn Richardson, managing director for advanced manufacturing, aerospace, aviation for JobsOhio, the state’s private development arm, told this newspaper in 2019.

And the company remains family-owned, even as it brings in more than $3 billion in annual revenue, according to one industry estimate in 2019.

On Wednesday, two employees at the company told a caller they could not transfer a phone call. Parts of the company’s website were down early Thursday.

Additional questions were sent to a Crown spokesman Wednesday.

About the Author