The Heritage Company Closed its Doors Due to Ransomware Attack Leaving 300 Jobless

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A Sherwood telemarketing agency has closed its doors leaving over 300 employees jobless a few days before the Christmas holidays. They operate branches in Sherwood, Jonesboro and Searcy.

Sandra Franecke, CEO of The Heritage Company wrote a letter to employees stating that the company’s servers were attacked by malicious software two months ago and were forced to pay the ransom in order to get the systems back up and running. 

“Since then, IT has been doing everything they can to bring all our systems back up, but they still have quite a long way to go. Also, since then, I have been doing my utmost best to keep our doors open, even going as far as paying your wages from my own money to keep us going until we recoup that we lost due to the cyber attack,” wrote in the letter to employees.

Franecke said that company has lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” because of the cyber attack and have been forced to “restructure different areas in the company.”

Status of the company after holidays 

The employees were instructed to call back on January 2 for a status update and to see if they get their jobs back.

When employees called the company they were greeted by a recorded message saying, “though we have made progress, there is still much work to be done. With that in mind, we do not prevent you from searching for other employment. Please take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and have a happy New Year.”

Employees response 

Many employees are dissatisfied by the way it was handled and stated that weren’t notified that there was even a problem until the last possible minute.

“Most of us are convinced that they are not going to reopen . I’m pretty sure that they are just buying time because they know as soon as they’re not going to reopen we are going to have to get a settlement and I think they just don’t want us to take them to court,” the employee told KATV.

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