Tamworth, a city in New South Wales (Australia), is experiencing several cyberattacks. In a strange turn of events, cybercriminals have begun to ransack the cybersecurity defenses of various business settlements in the city. As a consequence, many businesses have reported data theft. To add further insult to the injury, hackers forwarded a demand to pay ransom for ransomware removal.
In the beginning of January, Super Steel, an Australian company which sells steel supplies, was hacked when their network was compromised. Moreover, the cybercriminals ensured that the company’s remote server in Sydney was also infected. Soon, the company received a ransom note for ransomware removal.
Donna George, a manager at the company, stated that “We had all our data completely wiped out and ransomed. They asked for a fair amount of money just to get our information back.”
Ms. Donna believes that the infection may have spread through an email attachment—a common case in ransomware attack cases. However, there is no concrete evidence with regards to the source of the attack.
Super Steel’s previous investment in a disaster recovery plan meant that they had a backup system to restart their operations. However, the expenses from the event amounted to damages worth thousands of dollars. These costs were associated with the purchase of new hardware, incurred IT bills, and the total amount of time which the company lost in the post-attack period.
Ms. George revealed that they decided against paying ransom to the hackers. This decision was influenced by the realization that the hackers may back down on their word to restore access to data after receiving the ransom.
In the last three weeks since the attack, the company is still forced to troubleshoot some issues, though Ms. George has credited the attack to making them “vigilant” for the future.
Paul Adnett, a local IT consultant, revealed the fact that similar cyberthreats invade the defenses of businesses in Tamworth. He explained that as the computing and connectivity technologies become advanced, the cyberattacks are not far behind.
Adnett attributed the improvement of attacks to the experience of hackers, which in some cases extends to more than 20 years.
According to Adnett, these attacks are not random. Hackers search a great deal of information about a business before the final strike to take them down.
Each week, Adnett faces a fresh group of victims. He remarked that there is no magical solution to block a ransomware attack. Instead, he emphasized businesses to make use of fundamentals, and especially the company staff which was referred to as the “weakest link.” Lastly, Adnett recommended using backups for the worst case scenario.