The owner of a Calgary, Canada wine store paid hackers $500 in bitcoin ransom in order to get access to its data after its computer was infected with ransomware, according to CBC News. After getting the ransom note on his screen, the owner of Kensington Wine Market didn’t call the police because he didn’t want to be told not to pay the ransom.
The hackers sent him a thank you note after he paid it.
The total cost to the business is estimated to be between $5,000 to $6,000 since overtime IT services were needed.
Ransomware Disables The Computer
Andrew Ferguson, the store owner, said the ransomware did not remove the data but locked the computer so he could not use the data. The employees could not open email, process sales or look up inventory. This posed a major problem during the holiday shopping season.
The ransom note on the computer screen read: “Your files are encrypted. To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay $500 USD. If payment is not made before 14/12/15 the cost of the decryption (will) increase 2 times to 1000 USD.” It also displayed the amount of time left to avoid facing the higher amount.
The message said they could make a payment in bitcoin and gave instructions on how to purchase bitcoin with a list of
recommended sites. Ferguson said his IT person purchased the bitcoins and paid the ransom.
Once the ransom was paid, the computer became operational. Ferguson said the IT person received an unofficial receipt which essentially said: “Thank you for your purchase.”
IT Costs Rack Up Losses
Ferguson said he estimates the business will incur costs between $5,000 to $6,000 because he had to pay an IT company overtime to resolve the problem.
He said he realizes that many people don’t believe in negotiating with “terrorists,” but paying the $500 was a much smaller price to pay than going for months without having the data. He said the prospect of starting the data from scratch would have been “incredibly daunting.”
Image from Shutterstock and KWM.