A local business is suffering through a cyber attack. Jeff Walters Jewellers in Barrie has seen 25 years of business records encrypted and held hostage in what is known as a ransomware attack.
Owner Jeff Walters says he has been negotiating with the cybercriminals. “We got it down to about $2,300 Canadian,” said Walters. “We paid it. We just, we paid it. I hate saying that word, it’s like supporting crime. But then we paid it, and we found out there were two more keys that we needed so I wrote him back and said ‘what’s going on here?’ and he said ‘well, you don’t know how many keys you’ll need, so I only gave you a price per key.'”
“Law enforcement does not recommend negotiating with these individuals,” says Barrie Police spokesperson Peter Leon, “because it’s a form of organized crime. What people need to do is make sure to utilize safe and secure sites that don’t put them down a path that could be very, very dangerous. Make sure your security software is up to date, that it’s always working.”
“Small businesses need to be aware of this,” adds Leon, “because we’re starting to see a trend where small businesses are being attacked in this way.”
Through payment and work with local IT professionals, Walters has been able to unlock what he estimates to be about 98% of his files and is now thinking ahead. “First of all, I got insurance. I found out I have insurance for this, so my advice would be to make sure your company has insurance for something like this,” said Walters. “Secondly, we’re going to go back to the old days, when you used to back up your systems on a drive or a memory stick, and we’re going to have seven or eight days of that.”