East Side Mario’s is a Canadian restaurant chain that can only be described as the Cheesecake Factory of Italian food. The Statue of Liberty holding a tomato instead of a torch is its mascot, and its slogan is “Budda boom budda bing!” The interior of these places is an absurd, kaleidoscopic parody of Italian-American identity. The food sucks, but it’s nonetheless a national treasure.
And last week, according to the CBC, hackers forced some East Side Mario’s locations, which may as well be called West End Luigi’s Authentic Pasta Experience, to close temporarily. But American Joe’s Mama Mia Pizza Trough wasn’t the only restaurant hit. Besides Brooklyn Steve’s Loose Spaghetti Bucket, Canadian favourites like Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s, among others, were forced to close.
The chain’s parent company—Recipe Unlimited—was hit with ransomware that locked up the company’s systems and demanded bitcoins to end the digital siege.
According to the CBC, the ransom note that popped up on computers in the restaurants stated that they had been hit by “military grade algorithms” (actually just normal encryption algorithms) and appears to have been identical to a stock ransom note associated with malware known as Ryuk. Recipe Unlimited told the CBC that the company keeps diligent data backups and so it’s not really being held ransom, but multiple restaurant locations remain closed.
Yes, it’s a sad day for Upper West Side Tony’s Sauce Stain, but generally for all Canadians.
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