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Hackers demand ransom in cyber attack on Barrie business
Jeff Walters arrived to work on Tuesday morning and logged into his computer to find a disturbing message.
"It basically said your information is now in our control," he recalled.
Walters small jewelry business was the victim of a cyber attack.
The hackers locked his computer systems using malicious software, or ransomware.
"We can't open up our inventory. We can't open up our financials. We can't open up our clientele," he explained.
The only way for Walters to gain access to his valuable data is to pay a $25,000 ransom.
The Barrie business owner contacted police. "Unfortunately, there's very little we can do," said Peter Leon, Barrie Police Services. "Speaking with our investigators, we know that upwards of 90 percent of this activity is very, very difficult to trace."
Walters said he was able to negotiate the ransom demand down, but he's now facing an ethical dilema. "Do we do this and support crime? Or do we somehow start again and go back 25 years and rebuild the books," he asked.
Walters estimated the attack cost him 40 to 50-thousand in lost business. He hopes to be back in business as early as Tuesday.
Experts say if you are attacked, turn off your computers immediately and contact an IT team.