By Ron Howells • 03 July 2021 • 22:54
Cyber malware attack forces Swedish chain to close all 800 shops
A cyber malware attack targeted at an American server has forced the closure of a chain of 800 Swedish grocery shops.
Hundreds of American businesses were also hit on Friday, July 2, by an unusually sophisticated attack that hijacked widely used technology management software from a Miami-based supplier, Kaseya.
According to Coop, one of Sweden’s biggest grocery chains, a tool used to remotely update its checkout tills was affected by the attack, meaning payments could not be taken as the tills were rendered useless.
“We have been troubleshooting and restoring all night, but have communicated that we will need to keep the stores closed today,” Coop spokesperson Therese Knapp told Swedish Television.
The Swedish news agency TT said Kaseya technology was used by the Swedish company Visma Esscom, which manages servers and devices for a number of Swedish businesses- even state railways services and a pharmacy chain suffered severe disruption.
“They have been hit in various degrees,” Visma Esscom chief executive Fabian Mogren told TT.
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish Television the attack was “very dangerous” and showed how business and state agencies needed to improve their preparedness. In a different geopolitical situation, it may be government actors who attack us in this way in order to shut down society and create chaos,” he said.
In Friday’s attack, the hackers changed a Kaseya tool called VSA, used by companies that manage digital services for smaller businesses. They then simultaneously encrypted the files of those providers’ customers, promising to decrypt them in return for payment.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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