Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

,CyHonest Crook' as Good as His Word City Business Pays Demand; Data Returned as Business Owner Pays Up

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

,CyHonest Crook' as Good as His Word City Business Pays Demand; Data Returned as Business Owner Pays Up

Article excerpt

Jeremy Sollars


TO PAY or not to pay a scam artist Co that was the question faced this week by a Warwick business targeted by an overseas computer hacker.

As reported this week, the hacker infected the business with a computer virus which allowed it to hijack its entire data store, demanding $4000 for its release.

When the business owners were fobbed off by the Australian Federal Police and the Queensland Police computer crime unit, they took the tough decision to pay the ransom money, believing it to be cheaper and easier than trying to reconstruct 12 years' worth of data.

Their reluctant and risky move Co which they have described as a C[pounds sterling]financial rather than moralC[yen] one Co paid off yesterday morning after the so-called honest crook, thought to be based in China, sent decryption codes in exchange for the cash.

All of their data was successfully recovered Co but more importantly the business owner has what she calls her C[pounds sterling]babyC[yen] back.

C[pounds sterling]I feel like I have my life back,C[yen] the owner told the Daily News.

C[pounds sterling]The computer side of the business is what I have built and looked after

C[pounds sterling]We don't feel good helping an immoral crook, but when we recovered no support from the police we felt we had to go it alone.

C[pounds sterling]It was against their advice to pay and obviously we don't relish it, but we made a financial decision in the interests of our business.C[yen]

In a dramatic 24-hour period ending at 9am yesterday, the business owner arranged for the money to be transferred through a series of international bank transactions, insisted on by the hacker to avoid being traced by authorities.

In a final ironic twist, the merciless scammer nobly accepted an C[pounds sterling]apologyC[yen] from the business when the final money transfer came in at $3900 after fees and exchange rate differences.

He had earlier offered to make their IT system C[pounds sterling]un-hackableC[yen] Co for a $10,000 fee.

His request was firmly refused.

Late on Wednesday afternoon a skilled technician from a Warwick IT business contracted by the scam victims received codes and passwords from the hacker, with whom he had been in constant contact over several days. …

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