Nordic Choice Hotels replaces Windows with Chrome OS after ransomware attack

(Photo: Unsplash / Paul Hanaoka) Hotel key card

Nordic Choice Hotels is a massive hotel chain in Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Finland with over 200 properties.

Sadly, it suffered a ransomware attack last year, forcing the hotel chain to change its digital security.

Nordic Choice Hotels switches to Chrome OS

According to 9to5Google, the ransomware attack led the hotel chain to require its IT staff to shut down the internet and their network after their device’s encrypted files were hacked.

The hacker demanded the hotel chain to pay a ransom to recover their files, otherwise the files will be leaked online. The files consisted of employee records, not customer information.

In 2020, Google bought out a company that offers software to switch old computers to Chrome OS-like devices.

That company, CloudReady, is what the hotel chain has used to convert thousands of ransomware-locked Windows computers and laptops to Chromebooks.

Also Read: Ransomware Attack Against US Farm Supplier, NEW Co-op, May Trigger Food Shortage

As for the impact, staff had to resort to the marketplace and whiteboard as hacked key card systems forced employees to lock all their guests through a master key card.

Instead of spending hours removing the virus from each of the computers, the hotel chain decided to switch to Chrome because this project was already underway even before the attack happened.

A total of 2,000 laptops converted to Chrome via CloudReady in just 48 hours. Google had made the transition easier by letting the hotel chain jump into the queue to complete the project faster.

The hotel chain could restart everything by changing the operating system. Adjustments can be made from the corporate headquarters, and no one needs to go to each hotel to clean each computer.

Currently, CloudReady offers a Chromebook-like experience, and it’s built on the Chromium operating system. Google plans to make it an official Chrome OS option, and consumers can upgrade it at any time.

The ransomware attack

The attack left Nordic Choice Hotel staff with no access to the hotel’s reservation system, which is used to reserve rooms, receive payments, and check in and out of rooms.

Even though staff adopted manual procedures to continue business operations, the hotel informed guests of the delays caused by the attack.

According to Bleeping Computer, members were unable to log into their accounts to book rooms and manage their reservations. It also prevented them from applying reward points for discounts.

Nordic Choice Hotel confirmed the attack on a blog post on its website and informed members of its club of what had happened.

The Norwegian Data Protection Authority and the Norwegian National Security Authority took action after being notified of the ransomware attack.

The hotel chain said their surveys did not indicate that the data had been leaked online, but they cannot guarantee that this will not happen again in the future as the perpetrators have the files. The company added that the incident carries a risk that the reservations record will be unrecoverable.

Ransomware attacks have been rampant over the past two years. In October 2021, candy maker Ferrera suffered a ransomware attack that affected the production of its products.

In December 2021, Kronos HR suffered a ransomware attack that affected their payroll.

Related Article: Kaseya Gets Universal Decryptor After REvil Ransomware Attack

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