A1 filling station held to ransom by hackers after cyber attack

A filling station on the A1 in Northumberland has been forced to shut down its fuel pumps after its computer systems were hacked.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 12:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 3:25 pm
Adderstone Services, near Belford.

Cyber hackers gained entry to the computer systems at Adderstone Services, near Belford, and demanded a ransom.

Owner John Davidson said: “It’s caused a massive inconvenience, both to ourselves and our customers.

“We can’t serve any fuel and although we’ve kept the shop open we’re having to do everything the old fashioned way.

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“We’ve had some people calling in who are desperate for fuel with only a few miles left in their tank and expecting to fill up here.”

The problem hit on Monday around 7pm when hackers got through the firm’s encryption software.

“That took out our computers but also our tills,” revealed Mr Davidson.

“Most of our stuff was in the Cloud so a lot of our data is okay but the till data has been the problem. We had an online back-up but they also managed to get at that and delete it. It’s impossible to say how they got in.

“We did not engage whatsoever with the hackers so we don’t know how much they wanted but I know from people I’ve spoken to over the past couple of days that it can be in the region of £10,000.”

The attack happened just days after Travelex, the world's largest currency exchange, was hacked and held to ransom for a reported £4.6million.

“We thought we had quite a few safeguards in place but if it can happen to a company like Travelex I suppose it can happen to a small company like us,” said Mr Davidson.

He added: “Unfortunately, we need a completely new system to be installed and the software people are not coming out to do that until Thursday afternoon which is obviously a frustrating situation. We hope to be open again for business on Friday.”

The nearest alternative filling stations are nine miles away at Beal and in Seahouses.

The Purdy Lodge hotel next to Adderstone Services, also owned by the Davidson family, has been unaffected.

Mr Davidson said he is reporting it to Northumbria Police today.