top of page

Held to Ransom – Reflections of a Reluctant Landlady

Updated: Apr 17

Picture a really busy Sunday lunchtime shift, when every cover is taken, people are waiting for tables, and there is a buzzing atmosphere in the pub.  Orders were coming in fast and furious; the kitchen was on top of their game preparing the food and there were plenty more bookings throughout the afternoon.

Suddenly, the till system goes down and everything grounds to a halt.  The staff don’t know who ordered what food, they don’t know what to charge customers waiting to leave, who should check into which room and customers are beginning to get frustrated.

So we had to think quickly on our feet and improvise.  Customers told us what they had ordered, and we took them at their word, orders were taken manually, and we used our very best customer care skills to smooth things over.

Meanwhile, in the back office we were frantically trying to find out what had gone wrong.  And then we saw it.  An email telling us that all our files were transferred into a password protected folder, and we would only be given the password if we paid the handsome sum of $3000.  The dreaded ransom-ware.

Luckily we were not naive enough to pay it.  If we had, there would be no guarantees that we would get the password or access to our files.  Somehow, they had got through our firewall, later linked to a game of poker that was randomly going on remotely on one of our computers, which a staff member had seen and joined in, placing large bets on what was probably a stolen credit card. Luckily, we could go back to the last time the system was backed up and retrieve most of our data, we just lost a couple of days trading figures, and knew that our data was out there somewhere – luckily nothing related to staff, pay or any sensitive information, apart from our daily/weekly accounts.

Move on 10 years and people are much savvier about scams, ransom-ware and the need for watertight security.  But if you are not, then you should be.  Ransom-ware disrupted our business for 24 hours, but it could have been a lot worse.

Are you protected as much as possible?  It is definitely money well spent.

Need help with anything pub/hospitality management - take a look at my website -

A highwayman sat at a computer in his mask surrounded by stolen money and jewelry



22 views0 comments


bottom of page