Canadian wine store paid ransom in bitcoin to regain access to its computers

Crime | December 23, 2015 By:

The Kensington Wine Market paid $500 in bitcoin to regain access to its computers after hackers infected its database with a virus — and even got an unofficial receipt thanking it for its involuntary “purchase.”

“Our I.T. guy had to go out for us and purchase bitcoin in order to pay what these guys are demanding,” said Ferguson, who speculates they wanted the virtual money as it’s more difficult to trace,” said owner Andrew Ferguson.

Ferguson says he paid the ransom because his employees could no longer open email, lookup inventory or process sales — a big problem during the busy holiday season.

“I know there’s this concept that you don’t negotiate with ‘terrorists’ in situations like this. But paying $500 [bitcoin] in this instance was a much smaller price than if we’d have the uncertainty of having months of not having all of our data.”

Ferguson says he didn’t report the incident to the Calgary police because he didn’t want to be told not to pay the hackers.

Kensington Wine Market is wine shop located in Calgary, Canada.