Hackers hit surf retailers
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