Last month the UK’s biggest fishing shop was hacked. The malicious attack redirected website visitors and keen anglers to an adult website, causing potential customer embarrassment and financial and reputational losses for the company.
The malicious hack is another example of the rise in cybersecurity attacks during 2021. It also demonstrates how any business or organisation is a potential target, regardless of business sector or public brand awareness.
What did the attack involve?
Angling Direct experienced the attack late on Friday afternoon (November 5th). In addition to the website hack, the company’s Twitter account was also compromised. The Twitter account was tampered with and referenced a link to a porn site and the contact details for the attacker. The attacker was able to post a Tweet claiming Angling Direct had been sold to the adult website, PornHub.
Angling Direct was unsure if the personal data of customers was compromised. However, the company can confirm that no payment data was stolen, as a secure third-party payment provider handles this.
The hacker’s motives might be for financial gain. The hacker posted their contact email address in a statement offering to return ‘information and access’ to the site. However, the attacker’s comments revealed no public demands to be paid or a ransom value.
Regardless of whether a ransom was paid or not, Angling Direct will have lost money from potential sales while the website redirect remained active. A financial loss will also likely come from trust and reputational damage.
How did it happen?
Angling Direct has alerted authorities and brought in cybersecurity experts to deal with the attack. After an initial investigation, experts said the signs point towards the theft of employee login credentials. These stolen credentials permitted the hackers to take over the website. With the firm’s social media accounts also hacked, it is possible that the exact login details were used across multiple portals and accounts.
Angling Direct wrote, “We are mindful of our obligations regarding data; it is too soon yet to make any determination around the impact this incident has had on personal data. Importantly, the company does not hold any customer financial data, as third parties handle website transactions.”