High street retailer The Works claims it was the target of a cyberattack – forcing it to close some of its stores.
Hackers have reportedly hit the UK stationery and discount book retailer with ransomware – a type of computer virus that allows attackers to take control of a system and then demand money for its return.
The retailer said five of its 526 stores have been closed since last week following the hack, which caused problems with the company’s checkouts and disrupted deliveries to its stores.
However, bosses at The Works say its technical team quickly succeeded in disabling the company’s computers after being alerted to the breach by their firewall system.
It is understood that the company has yet to hear from the hackers and has yet to determine where in the world the attack originated.
However, the company insists that no customer payment data was accessed, as it is stored on a separate third-party system.
The stationery and book retailer said the cyberattack led to the temporary suspension of deliveries of new stock to its stores and longer delivery times for online orders.
The stationery and book retailer said the hack also led to the temporary suspension of deliveries of new stock to its stores and longer delivery times for online orders.
It said in-store deliveries are “expected to resume imminently” and that its normal online service levels are being regularly reintroduced.
Bosses added that the company does not currently expect the incident to have a “material adverse impact” on its financial position or outlook. However, the company’s shares fell 10% at the market open, according to Sky News.
In a statement, The Works, majority owned by Huddersfield Town FC chairman and Card Factory founder Dean Hoyle, said there had been “limited disruption to business and commercial operations”.
A spokesperson said: “This includes the closure of some stores due to cash issues.
“Customers can continue to shop safely at The Works, both in-store and online.
“All debit and credit card payment data is processed securely outside of the group’s systems, via accredited third-party networks, and there is therefore no risk that such payment data has been accessed in any way inappropriate.”
The retailer said it took a number of actions after being alerted to the breach by its security firewall.
The Works has disabled all internal and external access to its systems, including email, while it works with its advisors to assess and rectify the situation.
External cybersecurity experts have also been appointed and are currently completing investigations and recovery work.
The company added that while payment data was not compromised, it has not yet established “to what extent other data may have been affected.”
He said he therefore also informed the Office of the Information Commissioner. An ICO spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The Works has brought an incident to our attention and we are assessing the information provided.’
Ransomware hacks are one of the most common types of cyber attacks, alongside DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service.
One of the best-known ransomware attacks took place in 2017 with the WannaCry hack on the NHS.
More than a third of hospital trusts – 81 in total – had their IT systems crippled by WannaCry hackers in 2017.
Nearly 20,000 hospital appointments have been canceled because the NHS failed to provide basic security against cyber attackers. The hack is thought to have cost the NHS £92million.
When the attack took place on May 12, it destroyed outdated defenses used by the NHS.
The virus spread via email, blocking employees’ access to their computers and demanding £230 to release files from each employee account.
Doctors and nurses had to rely on pen and paper and essential equipment such as MRI machines were also disabled by the attack.
Nearly 20,000 medical appointments have been canceled, including 139 potential referrals for cancer.
Five hospitals had to divert ambulances at the height of the crisis. Hospitals were found to be using outdated computer systems, such as Windows XP and Windows 7, which had not been updated to protect against such attacks. The computers of nearly 600 medical practices were also victims.
Computer systems in 150 countries were caught up in the attack, which saw screens freeze with a warning that they would not be unlocked unless a ransom was paid.
The ransomware hack on The Works comes just months after the country’s largest double glazing installer was hit by a cyberattack.
Safestyle UK – known for its “You buy one, get one free” ad campaign – was reportedly targeted by hackers in January.
Hackers, believed to be from Russia, stole up to 400,000 customer details, sources said, and threatened to sell the data on the dark web unless the company handed over 4 million pounds sterling into bitcoin, the cryptocurrency.
The Bradford-based company took part of its website and IT system offline following the incident.