Hackers continue to find new industries to hold at ransom. In recent months we have seen the government, sporting organizations and health care affected by ransomware. The most recent of note within Canada is the food industry.
Kelseys, Milestones, Bier Mrkt, East Side Mario’s, Montana’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, and more have been affected. All of these companies are owned by restaurant conglomerate Recipe Unlimited. For the past 6 days, each of these locations have supposedly seen their services hampered by ransomware introduced by hackers.
Speaking with CBC, Recipe Unlimited downplayed the situation. They indicated that any ransom notes were generic pop-ups associated with malware.
When speaking with employees, however, CBC received a different story. Employees indicated that not only did they receive a ransom note with terms of payment, but their store’s systems crashed. The note itself indicated that for every day without payment, an additional 0.5 Bitcoin would be added to the ransom.
Furthermore, twitter users have noted that upon trying to visit some of these location, they were unable to do so. One user indicated that Montana’s would only accept cash, while East Side Mario’s was closed completely to the public.
Recipe Canada has been tight lipped about the situation, and it is unclear how many of their >1000 store locations have been affected. As of now, Recipe Unlimited indicates that the public and employees do not need to be worried.
Midland & Wasaga
Weeks ago, we reported about small towns Midland, and Wasaga – both located in Ontario near the eastern point of Lake Huron. Each of these small communities dealt with a similar situation as the one that Recipe Unlimited is undergoing right now.
Their computer systems were placed on lockdown, and access would not be given to the towns until a ransom was paid.
While this current situation is yet to be resolved, the towns noted both opted to pay the ransom. Each town decided that it would be cheaper to pay the ransom than to re-build their systems, potentially setting a precedent for more attacks, as hackers see that their tactics are working.
Not everyone will cede to demands
Although Midland and Wasaga both ceded to the demands of hackers, we have seen instances in the past year where such tactics proved to be fruitless.
In August 2018, the PGA tournament of America lost access to all of their systems. They, however, refused to give in to demands, and dealt with the inconvenience of the situation. They did not pay any ransom.
On the rise
One thing is clear – these types of attacks are on the rise. Eyes will be on Recipe Unlimited to see how they handle the situation. If companies continue to fold, and decide that it is more financially practical to pay the ransom than to restructure their systems, then hackers will become increasingly brazen.