The operator of several Canadian restaurant chains has been told to pay a bitcoin ransom in order to retrieve data encrypted by ransomware malware.
Recipe Unlimited said it was struck by a “malware outbreak” that affected a number of restaurants including a number of brands such as Kelseys, Montana’s, Bier Markt, East Side Mario’s Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet.
The impact of the attack has been telling, with several locations of the restaurants closed temporarily as a result.
“All of our computer systems crashed,” a worker told Canadian publication CBC. “The ransom note appeared under the file, ‘read me’ in a WordPad format. We were all really in a state of shock.”
The ransom note specifically claimed “there is a significant hole in the security of a company”, adding that it had breached the company’s network. Further, the hackers claimed that they went ahead and “crypted” (sic) the company’s data with the “strongest military algorithms”, demanding a ransom that will increase by 0.5 bitcoins (nearly $4,000) every day it isn’t being paid.
For its part, Recipe Unlimited outright denied it was being held to ransom to suggest that it takes regular backups of its files. The company also declined to offer an update on when its systems will be back up, in a response to the publication. This, despite the hanging concern of hackers potentially getting employees’ personal information as a result of the hack.
“We’re basically the front line for them, and we don’t really know what’s going on,” one unnamed employee told CBC. “Staff has been left in the dark.”
With over 1,000 restaurants, most of them in Canada, Recipe Unlimited adds that it has been steady communication with the impacted restaurants and franchise owners, insisting that employees shouldn’t be worried.
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