Wool auctions across the country have been delayed for the remainder of the week due to a ransomware cyber-attack on the industry’s main software supplier, Talman.
Talman Software is used by more than 75 per cent of the wool industry across Australia and New Zealand with the company’s research and development manager, Pramod Pandey saying the wool brokers’ data had not been compromised.
“The attacker has encrypted all the files,” Mr Pandey said.
“We did a regular check and the databases were locked and eventually that means the software becomes inoperable.”
NSW Farmers has called on wool brokers and pastoral houses to support growers and show leniency on short term loan repayment following the cyber-attack, saying the cancellation of auctions has left some wool growers at risk of not meeting their short-term loan repayments.
“We are concerned that the shut down in sales could delay a grower’s ability to meet their repayments,” NSW Farmers Wool Committee chair Andrew Wood said.
“Growers cash reserves are low, having endured years of drought and the associated high feed costs. Some growers have needed to access short term interest free finance to cover shearing costs until their wool cheque comes through.
“They had budgeted to make the repayments on these short-term loans during the interest free period. However, the auction shut down means they will not be getting paid next week and may not be able to clear these loans in the interest free period.
“We have heard that some growers might be hit with interest rate charges as high as 18%. Growers have no time to find alternative finance and they cannot endure these extra costs.”
While work is currently underway to restore the system, NSW Farmers called on brokers and pastoral houses that provide the short-term loans to show leniency to growers during this time and extend the interest free period.
“The auction shut down could not have been anticipated by growers. It is not appropriate that they should have to endure extra charges,” Mr Wood said.
“We need a common sense and compassionate approach from the brokers and pastoral houses.”