There are all kinds of problems that a NASCAR team has to deal with leading up to race day. In 2016, one of those problems is ransomware.
Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing crew chief Dave Winston isn’t the most tech-savvy guy in the world. So when a few odd files started popping up on the laptop he was using he didn’t think too much about it. He deleted the files and went about his business.
Then things took a dramatic turn. Suddenly, every file that Winston tried to open looked like gibberish. He started to panic, because this wasn’t just any old laptop. This particular system was used to maintain spreadsheets critical to the team’s operations, and in Winston’s own words “nothing of course was backed up because nobody ever backs up their computers until it’s too late.”
Like so many have, the CSLR crew chief had fallen victim to ransomware. VP Jeremy Lange told NASCAR that they had to “to get Dave off the ledge because his data had been hacked,” so they decided quickly to trust the bad guys and pay up. The ransom was relatively small — just