Hack­ers hit surf re­tail­ers

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - GREG STOLZ

SURFWEAR gi­ants Bil­l­abong and Quik­sil­ver are in tur­moil af­ter be­ing held to ran­som by in­ter­na­tional cy­ber-crim­i­nals de­mand­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

The hack­ers un­leashed a virus at­tack on the com­pa­nies about two weeks ago, crip­pling IT sys­tems and throw­ing preChrist­mas sales into chaos.

They are be­lieved to have de­manded as much as $90 mil­lion in ran­som from Board­rid­ers Inc, the US par­ent com­pany of Gold Coast-based Bil­l­abong and Torquay-founded Quik­sil­ver, to un­lock the com­put­ers.

“They have been in a world of pain,” a surf in­dus­try source said. “Staff haven’t even been able to turn on their com­put­ers and have been banned from us­ing them un­til the whole IT sys­tem is cleaned.

“There have been ma­jor de­lays in get­ting stock to re­tail­ers and on­line cus­tomers.”

Bil­l­abong’s Aus­tralian cus­tomers try­ing to buy mer­chan­dise on­line were yes­ter­day still be­ing told to ex­pect a week’s de­lay in ship­ping.

Some in­ter­na­tional shop­pers were re­port­edly of­fered 20 per cent dis­counts.

In a state­ment re­leased in the US, Board­rid­ers Inc said it had been “ex­posed to an in­creas­ingly com­mon com­puter virus that im­pacted some of our sys­tems in some re­gions”. “Our IT teams have been work­ing to quickly re­store our sys­tems to sup­port our op­er­a­tions, which are now largely trans­act­ing and ship­ping normally,” it said.

“We are proud of how our teams have re­sponded to this chal­lenge, and we are in­cred­i­bly grate­ful for their hard work. We also greatly ap­pre­ci­ate our cus­tomers’ and ven­dors’ pa­tience and sup­port dur­ing this brief in­ter­rup­tion.”

Grif­fith Uni­ver­sity cy­ber­crime ex­pert Dr David Tuf­fley said that ran­somware at­tacks launched by in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal gangs and rogue states such as North Korea and Iran were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon.

“Usu­ally what hap­pens is that an em­ployee in­no­cently clicks on an email link and, as soon as they do, a lit­tle pro­gram is in­stalled that ba­si­cally takes over and locks up the records of the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” he said.

“The only way to un­lock it is for the hack­ers to sup­ply the key,” he said.

“It can hap­pen with deadly ease be­cause peo­ple of­ten don’t think twice about click­ing on some at­trac­tive-look­ing link in an email.

“If this is a pretty stan­dard ran­somware link, then Bil­l­abong and Quik­sil­ver have got some real prob­lems.”

Board­rid­ers op­er­ates more than 110 coun­tries. in

STAR POWER: Alinta Chidzey, Natalie Bass­ingth­waighte and Tom Burlin­son. Pic­ture: AAP/Clau­dia Bax­ter

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