Cybersecurity at L&P: Keeping Up in a Constantly Connected World

These days, virtually any smart device can connect to the internet and exchange data. Although this technological evolution has its benefits, it also brings associated risks – especially for an organization like Leggett & Platt. With such a reliance on data and technology, we have a greater responsibility to remain vigilant against cyber-attacks.

Averted Disaster

In February, Leggett’s Cyber Threat Team was alerted to ransomware attacks on the Leggett network. As they quickly worked to patch the infection, the ransomware spread to the global network and various machinery. The possibility of the attack damaging equipment and interrupting production became increasingly real. Surprisingly, the Cyber Threat Team ultimately traced the initial infection to a factory vending machine.

Many wouldn’t necessarily think of a vending machine as a source for cyber-attacks, but in this case, the infection spread through file sharing technology once connected to Leggett’s internal network. A digital forensic examination revealed that the vending machine had been infected with a WannaCry variant – a worldwide cyber-attack targeting operating systems by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Due to the quick response of the Cyber Threat Team, the threat was resolved before it caused any major disruptions or financial damage, but other companies were not so lucky, as it disrupted operations across the globe with over $4B in financial damage. Consequences like these remind us why robust cybersecurity is vital – even to the most seemingly innocuous of sources.

Our Cybersecurity Team

Keeping up with technology is not an easy job. Not only is the cyber ecosystem expanding with internet-connected devices, but cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated. According to Scott Douglas, Senior Vice President – General Counsel and Secretary as well as Chair of the Cyber Oversight Committee, “It’s a constantly moving target, but L&P has made significant strides and invests appropriately in resources to mitigate cyber risks and defend against threats.” Some of our recent improvements include developing a Cyber Incident Response Plan and investing in additional layers of monitoring and defense.

Leggett also recently assigned a dedicated group of employees to cybersecurity efforts. The Cybersecurity Team works behind the scenes to protect our systems, networks, and data while also staying knowledgeable on current trends and risks. Each team member plays a critical role in the Cyber Incident Response Plan – a framework on how to handle attempted and successful intrusions as well as mitigate the damages.

Cyber Threat Team: Subject matter experts that monitor and address potential cyber-attacks and will escalate events to the Cyber Response Team that warrant additional attention.

Cyber Response Team: Representatives from IT and other business areas who manage escalated events and trigger the Company’s Cyber Incident Response in high-risk situations.










Cyber Oversight Committee: Members from IT and other business areas who monitor cyber risks, provide guidance to the Response and Threat teams, and keep the Audit Committee informed.

A Shared Responsibility

Despite the Cybersecurity Team’s best efforts to protect us, cyber attackers often rely on human error to accomplish their digital mission. To educate and inform our employees of potential cyber risks, the Cybersecurity Team is launching a global training initiative on various cybersecurity topics.

“We need increased employee awareness to recognize and react to potential threats,” according to Jeff Bean, Senior Technical Specialist. “Cybersecurity is every employee’s responsibility,” agrees Heather Couk, Senior IT Manager. “We put in as many layers of technology as possible to protect Leggett & Platt, but we need employees to also act as a layer of defense and stay aware of the risks and proper protocol. We rely heavily on employees to use good judgment to maintain a safe cyber environment.”