Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce hit by malware attack

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IT systems have been shut down at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce for nine days after it was targeted by a malicious ransomware attack.

Systems have remained shut down since the attack was delivered on January 9 in an email attachment which breached the security system. It was then extended into its back-up server.

The chamber says the attack has not resulted in any data theft and no stakeholder information has been compromised, but that malware has ‘locked down’ the server, meaning nothing can be accessed.

Chamber executives say IT specialists are working 24/7 to cleanse and remove the malware from infected computers and systems and that Lincolnshire Police are investigating.

Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, which supports a number of businesses across the county, remains open. Events and activities remain unaffected.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce said whilst specialists are working to restore the IT systems, his first priority is to reassure all Chamber members and partners that no data has been stolen.

“The last few days have been extremely challenging and I’m sorry for any inconvenience and disruption that has been caused as a result of this malicious attack.

“All our systems are shut down as a precaution whilst our IT specialists work to fix the problem. The attack has been reported to Lincolnshire Police.

“The malware attack planted malicious software in our systems which is preventing us from accessing certain data, files or documents. I’d like to underline that no data has been accessed by unauthorised parties and there is no risk of disclosure.

“Whilst no member or stakeholder data has been compromised, the team at Chamber HQ is suffering a significant operational loss with limited access to working files and emails. Having said this our attitude is very much ‘business as usual’ and we’re doing all we can to ensure events, activities and deadlines are not missed.

“Lincolnshire Chamber has stringent security systems in place, which have successfully tackled attacks such as this in the past. Once reported immediate action was taken to manage the situation. At this stage we believe the attack is random and came from overseas.

“We’re putting the building blocks of recovery into place, but at the moment we can’t say how long that process will take. All payment systems are running as usual, which means we can pay suppliers as normal and process transactions.

“Whilst tackling this attack, we’re also investigating how we can protect ourselves from potential future attacks with experts locally and nationally through our British Chamber of Commerce network. We’ll share our findings with all our members so we can limit the devastating impact cyber-attacks can have on a business – no matter what shape or size they are.

“We’ve opened a hotline for enquiries which will put you through to member of chamber staff who will be able to answer your questions, just call 01522 846923. We’ll also be updating members and partners via emails and phone calls as and when we have more information”.

All events are still taking place. Temporary email addresses are being used at the time of writing.