The cyber attack that affected our systems
19th April 2018
As I’m sure you are aware, Synseal Group was recently victim to a malicious, polymorphic virus which took down all of our IT and telephone systems across five of our sites. The virus left us unable to do the daily tasks we take for granted: talk to our customers, process orders, and manufacture goods.
I am writing both to thank you for your understanding and patience during this incident, and also to share our lessons learned, in the hope that we never see our customers become victim to a similar attack.
Despite having robust security systems in place, it takes only one email containing a virus to infect a computer network. For us, a fake HMRC email was effectively caught in our security filter but was released by an individual, infecting their PC before spreading through our fully integrated network. To put this into some context, this included all of our PCs, routers, printers, machinery and telephones. All the systems required to run our business effectively.
Thanks to the fast response of our IT team, we were able to isolate the computers initially infected, however each time we attempted to safely reboot our systems, the virus morphed and reappeared somewhere new. The only option left to us was to create an entirely new, clean server and begin to rebuild our systems from scratch, with our teams working non-stop, through the nights.
It has taken us a few days to process outstanding orders, catch up on deliveries and get our staff back online, so I would like to thank you for your continued patience during this time. Deliveries have now for the most part returned to your normal schedule, although glass deliveries are one day behind due to the impact the virus had on our glass systems. We will be working through the weekend to catch up and return to schedule next week. While a handful of our computers are still being repaired, our staff are working hard to ensure this shortage does not have an impact on our service. We will also be conducting a thorough review of our IT equipment and governance, to ensure we can prevent such an attack from happening in the future.
I am certain that most, if not all of our customers have anti-virus security software set up for their businesses, but having gone through this experience, we know that this alone is not enough. Good filters are essential, but equally important are the correct processes to support them. Our advice to you is to run regular scans, train your staff to look out for and report suspicious activity, keep up-to-date with cyber security news, and remain vigilant.
Most importantly, regularly back-up your systems and develop procedures in preparation for a cyber attack, so you know how to contact your customers, how to pay your staff, and where to get expert support in an emergency if the issue is beyond your in-house capabilities.
For us, this experience has reinforced the importance of having current contact information for our entire customer base, so we could keep them informed with our recovery plan. If your business did not receive our email notifications during our period of downtime last week, I urge you to get in touch with your account manager to update your details.
This will help us to ensure that we can always contact you in the event of a serious incident like this one, and give you as much notice as possible for issues which may affect your business.
for Synseal Group