A Scandinavian hotel chain that fell victim to a ransomware attack last month said it took a novel approach to recover from the incident by switching all affected systems to Chrome OS. The Record reports: Nordic Choice Hotels, which operates 200 hotels across Northern Europe, fell victim to a ransomware attack on December 2, when hackers encrypted some of its internal systems using the Conti ransomware strain. The attack prevented staff from accessing guest reservation data and from issuing key cards to newly arriving guests, as one of the hotel’s guests told The Record in an interview last month. But in a press release today, Nordic Choice said that instead of contacting the hackers and negotiating a ransom for the decryption key that would have unlocked the infected devices, the hotel chose to migrate its entire PC fleet from Windows to Chrome OS.
“[I]n less than 24 hours, the first hotel was operating in the Chrome OS ecosystem from Google. And in the following two days, 2000 computers were converted all over the company consisting of 212 hotels in five different countries,” the hotel chain explained. Kari Anna Fiskvik, VP Technology at Nordic Choice Hotels, said the hotel had already run a pilot program to test the tool before the attack as a way to save money by reusing old computers with a less-demanding OS. “So when we suddenly had to deal with the cyberattack, the decision to go all in and fasttrack the project was made in seconds,” Fiskvik said. Nordic Choice said it plans to migrate another 2,000 computers to Chrome OS, on top of the 2,000 it migrated during the attack. The hotel chain said they expect to save $6.7 million by converting old computers to Chrome OS instead of buying new hardware.