African Largest Supermarket Chain Hit with Ransomware Attack, 600 GB Files Hanging by a Thread

A ransomware attack has targeted Shoprite Holdings, Africa’s largest supermarket chain, which runs over 3,000 locations across twelve African countries. The attacker threatened the chain operator to sell the data to other criminal gangs or leak the data out for free online.

The company announced a security incident last Friday, telling clients in Eswatini, Namibia, and Zambia that their personal information may have been compromised as a result of a cyberattack. Later they posted a statement that read, additional security measures were added to prevent further data loss and access to the vulnerable network has also been restricted. It also said that no financial information or bank account details were exposed.

The cybercriminal group RansomHouse claimed responsivity for the cyber attack on Tuesday and posted the evidence of stolen data on the extortion site they set up, mocking the retailer’s futile security measures. 

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With a sale of $5.8 billion and 149,000 employees, Shoprite is Africa’s largest grocery business. The company operates 2,943 locations throughout South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and other countries, serving millions of clients.

The affected range is huge but Shoprite has not been interrupted in business, still, the company suggests customers watch out for unsolicited communications, change passwords and do not share personal information over the electronic device or email.

This is a digital world where companies and organizations gravitate toward internet-related operations, which makes them more vulnerable than ever to cybersecurity threats or invasions of personal information. No doubt that cyber security is of importance in a well-ordered internet world. The pre-planned practices against ransomware attacks are essential that avert malicious attacks from hackers or at least reduce the ensuring economic effect and reputation damage. Following are the proven ways to strengthen cyber security.

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Have strong passwords for different accounts: Passwords are the most easily neglected but also the basic method to guard against potential threats. Use password combinations of letters, numbers, and unique characters for different accounts. And change them periodically.

Keep Wi-Fi secure: Wi-Fi network also needs to be secured with a strong password and Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Install anti-virus software: Anti-virus software prevents malware from causing damage to the devices. These products detect, quarantine, and delete malicious actors.

Raise awareness: Any suspicious email address, phone number of text sender or links of them is better to be overlooked or deleted. They are likely to be phishing scams or data theft attempts.

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Install firewalls: Firewalls block off sketchy websites and regulate network traffic. They can also ward off malicious software visiting a computer via the internet.

Turn off Bluetooth and GPS after use: GPS and Bluetooth are susceptible to a hacker attack, through which the criminals gain access to your electronic devices. So, we advise you to turn it off when you don’t need it.

Data Backup and Recovery: Cases of losing business data and never retrieving them back are too many to enumerate. Backups help you continue your business in the event of unexpected disasters or cyber-attacks. Backups boost your confidence and courage facing the extortion too.

There are many third-party backup vendors that offer reliable data protection solutions for users. Vinchin Backup & Recovery is one of those outstanding virtual machine protection software, enabling flexible backup and disaster recovery.

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Automatic backup: The software provides multiple backup strategies under a settleable timetable through LAN-Free transmission for main virtualizations on the market (VMware, XenServer, XCP-ng and etc.). With mail alerts, the whole backup process dispenses with human supervision unless the mail alerts.

Disaster recovery: Offsite backup copy is a defense of data that comes in handy when accidents strike. While Full VM recovery, instant recovery, and granular restore are 3 options available for different scenarios. Custom recovery according to your actual needs. Instant recovery gets a crashed VM back to run in seconds; while granular restore retrieves single file or folder in the backup repository. 

There are more practical features such as CBT and real-time I/O ransomware detector, download the 60 days’ full-featured free trial version of Vinchin Backup & Recovery and establish a comprehensive data solution now.

Samuel Jim Nnamdi is the CTO of Foxstate, a platform that powers digital infrastructures for Real estate financing globally. He has over 8 years of Software Engineering and CyberSecurity expertise.

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