Orem company targeted by hackers, owners claim they spent thousands to fix the problem

Jun 8, 2021, 8:25 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:12 pm
Orem hackers...
Photo: Adobe Stock

OREM, Utah- Owners of an Orem company reported hackers nearly destroyed their business with ransomware, and they’re still cleaning up the damage the hackers left behind. This attack has cost them thousands of dollars, and investigators weren’t able to help much.

Officials with Hot Start confirmed their data was hijacked on either May 31 or June 1.

Hot Start is a direct-mailing service that makes fliers advertising refinancing loans targeted for veterans. Owner Randy Young said when workers arrived on the Tuesday following Memorial Day, few of their computers would turn on and those that did displayed a ransom note.

Young said, “Yeah, I was extremely freaked out.”

Their databases reportedly took decades to compile, and Young said the information in them is extremely valuable.

“We were literally losing thousands and thousands of dollars an hour,” according to Young.

He says the ransom note instructed management to download a TOR browser then log onto a specific website and pay the hackers, then they would release the files. The note read, in part, that the hackers didn’t care about the company and that they were not going to be sympathetic.  It read: 


“If you will not cooperate with our service – for us, it does not matter. But you will lose your time and data, cause just we have the private key. In practice – time is much more valuable than money.”


In the end, the company found ways to get the data back, but it cost them thousands of dollars and took a lot of time.  Young said they know what their weakness was and they’re taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. However, he says local police weren’t equipped to handle this kind of investigation, and he hasn’t received much assistance from the FBI.

He said, “We were looking at 100 percent loss of everything.  In our business, the way this is set up, there was no way to recover it, just start over.”

Cyber security experts said the antidote to ransomware is having a strong backup system.

XMission President Pete Ashdown said, “Have not just one back-up, but a back-up that stretches back a year.”

According to Ashdown, 99 percent of all ransomware attacks happen due to human error, with employees clicking on links in their email boxes.

“Make sure everyone in your company is aware of the problem and aware of the consequences,” he said.  “Keep those back-ups and have good passwords.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

Police are looking for a shooting suspect, after a man was found with a critical gunshot wound in S...
Kate Davis and Simone Seikaly

One man wounded, suspect on the run after Glendale shooting

Glendale police said the shooting happened Wednesday night near 1665 South Riverside Drive, not far from the Jordan River.
11 hours ago
Multiple Michigan agencies are investigating what happened to three local rappers, Armani Kelly, 28...
By Michelle Watson and Amy Simonson, CNN

3 rappers have been missing for 10 days since their scheduled performance was canceled, Detroit police say

Multiple Michigan agencies are investigating what happened to three local rappers who went missing 10 days ago after a performance at a club was canceled, Detroit police said.
11 hours ago
Salt Lake City police are investigating a shooting Wednesday night that sent one person to the hosp...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City police investigating shooting, one person hurt

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City police are investigating a shooting Wednesday night.  Police say the shooting occurred in the area of 1665 S. Riverside Drive at 6:43 p.m. One person was transported by ambulance to an area hospital in critical condition.  Police have been unable to locate a suspect. They say the suspect […]
1 day ago
Shots were reportedly fired in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School on Thursday afternoon, l...

Teen arrested for firing shots in Taylorsville High parking lot

A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection to the shots fired last week in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School.
1 day ago
amber alert...
Adam Small

Davis County officials charge suspect in Layton Amber Alert

Charging documents allege Aaron Michael Zeman, 26, had been communicating with the victim as far back as October 1, 2022.
1 day ago
US President Joe Biden discusses funding for the "Hudson Tunnel Project" at the West Side Rail Yard...
Kevin Liptak, MJ Lee, Jeremy Diamond and Paula Reid, CNN

FBI finds no classified documents at Biden’s Delaware vacation home

Reporters positioned in the coastal community observed black sport utility vehicles and sedans arriving to the home mid-morning.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Orem company targeted by hackers, owners claim they spent thousands to fix the problem