Hit Promotional Products Latest Target of Promo Industry Malware Attack (and How to Protect Your Business)
Hit Promotional Products is the latest promotional products company to fall victim to a malware virus that scammers seem to be sending to companies in the industry. A little more than a week ago, industry sources reported that Hub Promotional Group and High Caliber Line were hit by the attack.
"The Malware virus hit High Caliber hard," Les Dorfman, executive vice president of High Caliber Line, told Promo Marketing. "It comes as a link from a valid distributor's email and says 'click here for the PO or for artwork confirmation.' Once the link hits, the virus travels through the servers and shuts down all computers. It hits certain drives and files, and [is] very hard to clean."
In a statement today, Krista Ward, director of marketing for Hit Promotional Products, explained the supplier's current situation dealing with the malware.
"Like many others in our industry, Hit Promotional Products has had computers and servers compromised by the industry-targeted malware," she said. "We did experience system disruptions last week, as the virus specifically targeted a protocol on one of our file servers that processes artwork."
She added that the supplier worked with an outside security company to monitor the virus, and has taken security measures to strengthen its network.
"At the present time, all of our critical systems are functioning, and our hard-working employees are working overtime to catch up on artwork processing and ship orders, as we expect to set a record number of new orders booked this week," she said.
Hit Promo didn't disclose the security measures it took, but Dorfman said High Caliber Line worked with Cylance, a cloud-based antivirus software that uses a form of artificial intelligence.
"It detects the virus right away and leads you directly to where to clean," he said. "We have been attacked twice since this has been installed, and the first time it took two hours to be up and running, and the next time less than an hour. It has stopped the malware from coming in at all too many times to count."
Based on reports from Ward and Dorfman, the attack doesn't happen just once, so strengthening anti-virus protection and being vigilant is necessary to avoid a debilitating attack on business.
"This is the only way, in our opinion, to prevent loss of business," Dorfman said. "We thought we had security through hardware applications, but the current trend of virus seems to go right through those specific hardware."
In addition to new software and security measures, there are things you can do every day to prevent viruses from making their way into your computer system.
In a how-to page on avoiding malware and viruses, Northeastern University stressed the importance of avoiding suspicious looking links.
"Social engineering relies on tricking you into taking an action, such as clicking a link," it says. "As the malicious website opens, malware can be installed on your device. Simply visiting these websites is enough to infect your device."
A pop-up window might also appear, falsely warning you that your computer is infected with a virus or has another problem. From there, you are prompted to download software (which is the virus), or it might just automatically download when you click the alert to continue reading.
"Do not click or engage with the pop-up window," Northeastern's guide says. "Close the window by either closing the browser completely, or through the 'X' in the upper right corner of the window."