An award-winning Norfolk cookshop is warning other retailers to be on their guard after a hacker targeted its website and wiped out its online business at a stroke.
Cook to Perfection, which opened as a cookshop in Kings Lynn in June 2008, went on to launch its website just two months later. Last year, the business won Gold in the Britain’s Best Cookshop category of the Britain’s Best Retailer Awards, and was praised for its “excellent interactive website”.
However, as director Alastair Done told HousewaresLive.net, that website is now no more – as he discovered a few days ago.
“I was going to use our website to do some work and it came up with a big error,” he said. “Somebody’s gone in and deliberately deleted every single file. We have the database – which is good for us – but what we don’t have is the framework that that database goes onto, so it’s as good as useless.”
Fellow Cook to Perfection director Melanie Done added that the hacker had managed to destroy the site “despite excellent internet security measures being taken and using a reputable host server”. And Alastair was the only person who knew the password.
“Of course,” she went on, “the first thing we did was contact the web designer responsible for creating our website, and whilst he’s been very helpful it doesn’t appear that he’d kept a back-up of our site.”
There is still a small chance that a back-up may be found. “But if not,” said Alastair, “we’ll have to reinstall the whole thing again from scratch.”
Melanie added: “We’ve lost all product data, images and stock levels, etc. We never thought a hacker would be interested in a cookshop website, and wish now we’d ensured a back-up was available. We hope that this was a one-off, but can you please issue a reminder to others about internet security and keeping back-ups.
“We’ve managed to upload a temporary website ourselves for the time being, and we’re now weighing up our options for the future.”
According to Alastair, one of those options is to forget the online shop completely now.
The website business only contributed 1.5% of overall sales, most of which were Gaggia capsules. “And,” Alastair said, “while it works for us, maintaining that in full is so time consuming. Really, we’re not sure if we’ll go back to that. We’ll maybe look at doing an eBay business.”