It was a day like any other at the busy Playford hotel when financial controller Bhavin Patel received a disturbing phone call.
One of his employees had opened an email that looked like it contained an invoice, but on closer inspection, it was something much more sinister.
Fearing the worst, Bhavin Patel, Financial Controller of the Playford Hotel, called IT company Geek.
For the 182 room hotel in the heart of Adelaide, having a functional IT system is critical.
Jon Paior, Director of Geek, says, “If we hadn't put the right things in place, it could have shut them down.”
Geek’s senior network engineer Andrew Huxtable was able to identify the virus, delete it and restore the hotel's IT system using a backup in about 30 minutes.
“Took the call, identified it's a crypto type infection pretty quickly. The heart drops a little bit, okay, we're in disaster recovery mode here, and quick action to try and isolate [it to prevent] further infection.”
But Geek founder Jon Paior says stories like this are all too common -- and the results aren't always so positive.
Paior says, “Nearly every day we will have a call from a customer or a potential customer - either a virus that's come in via email or a web page.”
He says ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and common, and attacks like the recent global WannaCry threat has put the business world on notice.
“It had the potential to have huge ramifications for everyone. Everyone was at risk whether they realised it or not.”
“What people don't realise is that not only it could happen again, but it definitely will happen again. This is the new reality.”
As the murky business of hackers has gotten smarter -- those who defend against them have had to adjust their methods.
Huxtable says, “The crypto locker virus has been around now for some time. Mid last year was when we started seeing in the wild versions of crypto. Now it's common until the next version comes out. It means we do things differently. It means we have to be a lot more mindful form a security aspect and that sort of stuff.”
Geek’s backup information is stored inside high-security data centres, such as YourDC in the outskirts of Adelaide.
Manager Callan Davies says, “Other than the razor wire out the front, we have swipe card access, security, keyed access to the equipment rooms, pin to get in the room and we have biometric access.”
However, despite providing as many services as possible in repairing and restoring infected data systems for small businesses, Geeks says pre-emptive security and user education is the best way to avoid an attack.
The company offers services via a monthly subscription for small businesses that don't have their own IT departments, so they can ensure their systems and processes are kept in good order.
Back at the Playford Hotel Bhavin Patel says it's been money well spent.
“When these things happen, how quickly how your IT guys apply all the tricks is really important, and for me on that day my IT team was really good.”
Where it's business as usual thanks to a couple of quick-acting 'Geeks'.