Did you know that a ransomware attack could cost you your job? That is exactly what happened to 300 employees at an Arkansas Telemarketing firm that was forced to lay off 300 of its employees and halt operations indefinitely.
The Heritage Company, a telemarketing firm based in Sherwood Arkansas, was hit by a ransomware attack two months earlier that encrypted the company's servers. According to the organization's CEO Sandra Franecke, hackers demanded a ransom of 'hundreds of thousands of dollars' to restore access to their data.
According to Franecke, even after meeting the hackers' demands and paying the ransom, it is still unknown how long it will take for the IT team to restore all the systems. The halt in operations plus the loss of capital due to the ransom payment has made it a struggle to keep up with employee payroll. Franecke would even use her own money to maintain her employees' wages while the company gets back on its feet.
Ultimately, The Heritage Company was unable to maintain operations and was forced to close doors, leaving 300 of its employees jobless. Franecke stated she is hoping that the closure will only be temporary and that employees should contact the company around January 2nd to receive updates on the system's restoration and whether they would be able to regain their jobs. Employees were displeased, to say the least, feeling that they were kept out of the loop throughout the entire incident.
"What we hope is just a temporary setback is an opportunity for IT to continue their work to bring our systems back and for leadership to restructure different areas in the company in an attempt to recoup our losses which have been hundreds of thousands of dollars," stated Sandra Franecke, CEO of The Heritage Company.
The Heritage Company is the newest addition to an evergrowing list of businesses that have been forced to close doors due to ransomware attacks. Since businesses are more likely to offer higher payouts than an individual user, cybercriminals have developed ransomware that specializes in compromising large organizations. An example of this is the infamous Ryuk ransomware, which has targeted hundreds of US businesses and state agencies, forcing them to shut down operations.
With the slew of ransomware attacks happening this year, the public is becoming aware of the destructive capabilities this type of malware has. However, not many people know how a ransomware attack can cost them their job or bankrupt their entire business. While big companies tend to survive these attacks, small and medium enterprises often lack the capital to do so.