Forks Township-based Famous Smoke Shop has shut down its website, store and lounge due to a “ransomware” attack, according to the company CEO.
CEO Arthur Zaretsky said Monday, July 12, that his business was one of 1,500 globally hit by the cyberattack over the Fourth of July weekend.
He said all his company’s data was scrambled by cyber-criminals. The criminals offered to unscramble the data if he pays a ransom.
“It’s horrible,” Zaretsky said Monday.
He said a cybersecurity team is working to restore his data. He said he refuses to pay the ransom. He hopes the problem is cleared up by Tuesday, July 13. Without his company data he can’t make any sales, he said.
An email to customers warns that their names, mailing addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and order histories may have been leaked, although that’s not confirmed. No customer financial information was at risk because the company doesn’t keep that information, the email to customers says.
Zaretsky said tens of thousands of customers are affected by the cyberattack.
“Because we consider you part of our Famous family, we felt we owed you an explanation for why you haven’t been able to shop with us,” the email to customers says.
Zaretsky said the company has weeks of work ahead catching up even when the website, store and lounge are back up and running.
The Russia-linked REvil gang is behind the global ransomware attacks, according to the Associated Press.
Famous Smoke Shop was founded in Manhattan in 1939. The business moved to Pennsylvania about 10 years ago and opened a warehouse, cigar store and the Leaf Cigar Bar & Lounge at 90 Mort Drive in Forks Township. The lounge includes a restaurant where cigar smoking is permitted.
The business moved to avoid paying high cigar taxes in New York, the Leaf Cigar bar website says. That website is still operational, although customers can’t buy anything through that site.
The facility’s 35,000-square-foot humidor holds more than 3 million cigars, the Leaf website says.
Rudy Miller may be reached at [email protected].