Ransomware attack delays opening of Pitt County liquor store

Greenville, N.C. (WITN) - The opening of a new ABC liquor store in Pitt County was delayed due to a ransomware attack.

The store was set to open, but a cyberattack that potentially affected over 20 stores, put those plans on hold.

Newly-hired general manager Adam Sullivan says,“We came in on a Wednesday morning, and unfortunately, our computers were locked up. There was a note giving the directions as far as what to do, but we threw all of that onto our P.O.S. providers,” Sullivan said.

According to Christopher Lee at Computer Geeks in Greenville, ransomware is a virus that gets on your computer that can be spread to a computer over a network or over the internet. It encrypts your data and locks it down so that you can't use it, and an attacker asks for money in exchange for unlocking the data.

Lee said, “Ransomware is huge right now because it’s relatively easy for attackers to use.”

The company that owns the software that was attacked dealt with the issue.

“We at Pitt County ABC...we didn’t have to pay anything,” said Sullivan.

Lee says cyber attacks are becoming a growing threat to businesses.

“A lot of times, businesses would rather just pay the ones or the ransom so they can get back up and running, but one thing about that is that, you’re kind of trusting a hacker to unlock your data after you send the money. And that’s definitely not always what’s gonna happen.”

Lee says to prevent cyber attacks, businesses especially should have a hardware firewall, teach their employees to avoid suspicious emails and files, and having an anti-virus that constantly scans may lower your chances.

Sullivan has not confirmed an exact date but hopes the store is up and running next week.