The Courier-Mail

Hackers hit surf retailers

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

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