Flooring contractors are the most recent victims of the malicious software known as ransomware, which uses a computer virus to hold data hostage until a ransom is paid. While the scam has been around for years, this malware became front page news due to two major attacks based on a WannaCry variant in May and the Petra/Goldeneye worm in June, which was particularly destructive. The malicious code in these cases encrypted data on machines and demanded victims pay $300 to recover their data.
Ransomware, which is often transmitted by email or web pop-ups, has generally targeted blue-chip companies, academic institutions and hospitals, but more businesses—including those in the flooring industry—are becoming victims. The hack has become such a concern, in fact, that Bob Murdoch, vice president of M.E. Sabosik Associates, a flooring contractor in Point Pleasant, N.J., and chairman of Starnet’s Technology Committee, brought it to the attention of members at the group’s spring meeting.