‘Anyone is Susceptible:’ Vt. Furniture Store Bilked Out of Thousands of Dollars in Ransomware Attack - NECN
Vermont

Vermont

The latest news from around the state

‘Anyone is Susceptible:’ Vt. Furniture Store Bilked Out of Thousands of Dollars in Ransomware Attack

Scammers infected the computer network of Wendell’s Furniture with malware

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Vt. Furniture Store Held Hostage by Ransomware

    Business is getting back to normal at Wendell’s Furniture in Colchester, with the Vermont retailer saying Wednesday it has just about finished digging out from a cyber-crime nightmare that has caused headaches for several weeks.

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018)

    Business is getting back to normal at Wendell’s Furniture in Colchester, with the Vermont retailer saying Wednesday it has just about finished digging out from a cyber-crime nightmare that has caused headaches for several weeks.

    “We found some chinks in our IT armor,” acknowledged second-generation Wendell’s owner Ryan Farrell.

    Farrell declined to give a specific number but said he paid several thousand dollars in ransom after scammers infected his store’s computer network with malware—basically holding his operations hostage.

    “We really didn’t feel as though we had an option,” Farrell said of the decision to pay the ransom.

    White Official Tells Black Woman He Belonged to Master Race

    [NATL] White Official Tells Black Woman He Belonged to Master Race

    Some Leavenworth County, Kansas, officials are calling for Commissioner Louis Klemp's resignation after he insulted a black woman who had just presented a land-use study to the commission. "I don't want you to think I am picking on you because we are part of the master race. You have a gap in your teeth. We are part of the master race, don't you forget that," Klemp said. 

    (Published Friday, Nov. 16, 2018)

    The good news, Farrell said, is that customer credit card numbers are not stored on the computers at his business, so they are safe.

    However, the store did lose access to a database of pending furniture orders, leaving staffers manually piecing together info, which has slowed down deliveries.

    “New customers will have no impact whatsoever,” Farrell told necn.

    “Anyone is susceptible to this,” observed Jon Rajewski, a digital forensic examiner and professor at Champlain College’s Leahy Center for Digital Investigation.

    Rajewski said crooks often sneak ransomware onto computers using tricky emails, so he tells people to think seriously about clicking on questionable links.

    Rajewski said he would also like to see people keep their anti-virus software updated, and to have data backed up on a drive or the cloud that’s disconnected from the main system—so the backup can’t also be compromised.

    FDA Announces Crackdown on Cigarettes

    [NATL] FDA Announces Crackdown on Cigarettes

    The Food and Drug Administration is making moves against the tobacco industry in an effort to crack down on smoking in teens, saying it is working to ban menthol and mint in all cigarettes, as well as flavored cigars. The agency also announced it will limit the sales of flavored e-cigarettes to youths, both in stores and online.

    (Published Friday, Nov. 16, 2018)

    As to whether or not you should pay a ransom, Rajewski told necn law enforcement often warns that doing so could embolden criminals, but he knows many businesses feel squeezed.

    “If you’re a small business that relies on a database that has all of your customer information in it, and that’s been compromised and ransomware and encrypted—and you don’t have a backup—you have to make a decision that’s best for your business and organization,” Rajewski said.

    Wendell’s said it’s grateful for its customers’ patience and understanding and said it appreciates the support it has received from its tight-knit Vermont community.

    The furniture store added that it has already beefed up its IT infrastructure, hoping to avoid a repeat of this ransomware attack in the future.

    Get the latest from necn anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android