Hackers target Warwick businesses
COMPUTER technician Chris Hudson said he was shocked to discover two local businesses had become victims of hacking in the past couple of weeks, saying he had never before seen it in Warwick.
One of the businesses – R on the Downs – had a virus placed behind one of its images and the other had more than 100 orders placed under the name “Hacker”.
Mr Hudson – who owns Warwick PC Solutions – also fell victim to the hackers, after a virus lodged itself in his computer while he was repairing one of the damaged websites.
He said it is “very unusual” that in the past two weeks he had been enlisted to help the two very different businesses repair websites that had been hacked.
While it is obvious there is ill-intent from the individuals responsible, the motive for such an attack is not clear.
“It’s a bit like graffiti – they’re just doing it to be malicious,” Mr Hudson said.
While hacking has always been around, Mr Hudson said these are the first cases he has seen in his seven years of business in the Rose City.
“I had to help a shoe store in Toowoomba that was hacked three times in one week but you don’t normally hear of it in Warwick,” he said.
“It’s a bit like the fog this morning, you don’t see it very often and when you do you think, ‘wow, that’s unusual’.”
Although signs of hacking are usually subtle, there are things to be on the lookout for.
“People should check things out and just be vigilant,” Mr Hudson said.
“Look out for images that are displaced or anything that just doesn’t look right.
“A lot of hackers like to target a picture and there will be subtle changes to the size or the colour or the placement.
“It’s just a big inconvenience – to have hundreds of orders coming through in a couple of hours can bog your computer down to a complete stop,” he said.
Mr Hudson advises anyone who believes they may be the victim of hacking to either contact the developer of the website or to call a technician such as himself to diagnose and treat the problem.
R on the Downs owner Doug Phillips said he became aware his business website had been targeted by hackers after speaking with potential guests.
“We had feedback from various people wanting to inquire about staying but they couldn’t access the photos on the website,” he said.
“Any disturbance would have some impact and it’s hard to put a monetary value on it but it is costly in terms of money to re-do it and in time wasted,” he said.
Despite the fact both the business and website were relatively new, Mr Phillips has now had to replace and re-launch the website with added security.
“You can have all the security packages but there will always be somebody with too much time on their hands,” he said.
Mr Phillips said it is a concern there are people who choose to cause disruptions such as this instead of putting their computer skills to good use.