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Cybersecurity and Toys

Toys bring a smile to a child’s face. At certain events and holidays, children and some adults look forward to for an entire year. As much joy and happiness as these bring to most people, these are manufactured by big business. These, while having a definite role in society, also are a target. The business and its locations for warehousing and manufacturing hold data, and computer systems that could be exploited. Recently, the toymaker was hit with ransomware and joined the club of other businesses given the opportunity to work through this issue. With the holidays around the corner, the attackers have no heart!


Mattel has been a common name around households for decades as they have created and produced so many toys and different toys. Mattel has risen to the second-largest toymaker in the world. The corporation presently has an estimated 24,000 employees with its headquarters in California. The business is rather large, as an MNB (multi-national business) with locations in 35 different countries. Notably, the business manufactures Barbie. Other subsidiaries familiar to the parents and children are Fisher-Price, American Girl, Thomas & Friends, and Hot Wheels.


Mattel was the recipient of the ransomware attack. The tool used appears to have been the Trickbot variant. This malware piece was so well used, it was voted the most dangerous threat to healthcare in 2019. This particular variant has tended to compromise entire networks. The attack occurred on July 28, 2020. Mattel published this in early November 2020 and in their 10-Q (quarterly report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). The report noted on page 31 “On July 29, 2020, Mattel discovered that it was the victim of a ransomware attack on its information technology systems that caused data on a number of systems to be encrypted.” This was also noted on page 52 of the same report.

After the Detection

As eluded to earlier, this did affect operations. The attack did affect a portion of their business operations. Fortunately, there was no data theft. Once the attack was detected, the business began its response protocols. This included methods to stop the attack and begin to restore the impacted systems. Fortunately, through the good work of their cybersecurity team, the attack was contained. The business did a complete forensic investigation to ensure the issue was contained and removed from their system. The forensic team noted no data was exfiltrated, which is a clear benefit.


Educating your staff continues to be the first round of defense against ransomware. With this in place, the opportunity to have the ransomware take over your system is limited.


Abrams, L. (2020, November 3). Leading toy maker mattel hit by ransomware. Retrieved from

Bizga, A. (2020, November 4). Toymaker mattel discloses ransomware attack. Retrieved from

Cimpanu, C. (2020, November 4). Toy maker mattel discloses ransomware attack. Retrieved from

Comeau, Z. (2020 November 4). Toymaker mattel says it was hit with ransomware. Retrieved from

Muncaster, P. (2020, November 4). Mattel reveals July ransomware attack impacting business. Retrieved from

Spring, T. (2020, November 4). Toymaker mattel hit by ransomware attack. Retrieved from

Starks, T. (2020, November 4). Nothing is sacred: Ransomware attack hit toy maker mattel’s systems this summer. Retrieved from

Weston, S. (2020, November 4). Mattel admits it was hit by a ransomware attack. Retrieved from


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