Bookstores offline due to ransomware attack

French company TiteLive has been hit by a major ransomware attack. About 130 independent bookshops in the Netherlands, Belgium and France are largely shut down as a result. They currently do not have access to billing and inventory data and must manually enter all books sold.

Attackers demand ‘very high ransom’

It is reportedly a ransomware attack. In doing so, hackers penetrate a company network and lock important data behind them. The only way to regain access to these files is to pay a ransom. As soon as the victim transfers this amount of money to the perpetrators, he is handed a decryptor or decryption key. You can compare this with a key to open the front door of your house. With this tool, the victim can get back to work with his data.

According to Computable, the attackers demanded “a very large ransom.” The amount involved is unknown. It is also unclear who is behind the attack, how he managed to penetrate the computer systems, whether confidential data was stolen and if so, what kind of information was involved. The backups have not been compromised by the attackers. TiteLive has still not officially commented on the matter.

Belgian bookstores bear the brunt of ransomware attack

The company offers a Software-as-a-Service package for booksellers to manage their inventory, purchasing, sales and checkout. About 130 bookstores in the Netherlands, Belgium and France are more or less the victims of the ransomware attack on TiteLive. Bookstore Malperthuis in Genk tells Computable that working is difficult because of the attack. “The cash register system still works, but it no longer connects to the underlying back office. So we can sell, but we have to keep track of all receipts to manually update the inventory system later. Everything related to invoicing is also not working at the moment.”

The Antwerp bookstore De Groene Waterman also says it is experiencing nuisance from the ransomware attack at TiteLive. “That is our bookstore package. We use it for inventory management, customer administration, and so on. Our cash register is also linked to it, but it also works without the system, just like the website, although it is no longer up-to-date as a result,” the bookshop tells Data News. The Belgian medium writes that TiteLive hopes to be operational again next Thursday.

Dutch bookstores have no real damage

The NOS writes that the database with books and invoices of the bookshops is not damaged, but that shop owners simply cannot access it. They now have to manually keep track of everything and manually enter the transactions at a later date. Bookstore chain Libris with about 90 branches is suffering from the attack but is not experiencing any real damage. “You do receive a book from the printer now, but you don’t know for whom,” says a spokesperson for Libris. “When people order, bookstores have to get to work manually. Books can still be sold in the shops, but it is very annoying.”

Atheneum Boekhandels claims to be able to sell books, but not to be able to log into the system. “The portal has been hacked, but fortunately nothing has happened to the database. We can just sell books, the cash register works,” said the bookshop. The Rotterdam bookshop Donner writes on its site that it was hit by ‘a digital attack’ on Monday. “The data has not been touched. But the recovery took some time. We are back online, but you may still experience some disruption from this attack. Thank you for your understanding,” the store said.

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