By Dennis Jones
The executive administrative assistant had been back at Krempe headquarters for about five hours now. Certainly not what she’d expected when she’d left nearly six hours ago, thinking she’d have a light work night with her CEO off-site and presumably in transit.
She’d gotten that text message from the CEO on her way into the gas station, who was alerting her to the fact there was an urgent email waiting in her inbox. As she was still a ways from home, she’d decided to pull out her laptop and use the free Wi-Fi at the gas station, though admittedly she was a little suspicious.
Her CEO’s email had read “urgent” in the subject line – sure, that was a little odd – and a link in the body, which wasn’t that usual either. But once she clicked on the link, all hell broke loose – digitally speaking.
She comprehended almost immediately that she’d been hacked, or phished, or whatever they were calling it these days. She’d never been the most engaged listener during the countless, cybersecurity best practice seminars she’d been mandated to attend.
She was savvy enough though to know this was bad, surely a cybersecurity crisis, and that she wouldn’t even begin to know how to fix it. So she rang up the IT admin who was her usual go-to during a technology meltdown. When he answered, the first panicked words out of her mouth were, “I know I did something bad.”
He’d heard those words before. But being that he was talking to a direct liaison to the CEO, he suppressed a sigh and recommended that she come in with the corrupted device. He was pretty sure it would be a quick fix. That was about five hours ago.
When she came back in and opened up her device, he knew it was serious, every bit the cybersecurity crisis the EA had thought. So he had to triage the issue in multiple phases. First, send out an all-employee email alerting Krempe workers to be extra vigilant about the emails they responded to, especially if those emails had links and attachments. Then, he had to start on the Executive Assistant’s laptop, which seemed to have taken on a life of its own. For the IT admin working well into thirteenth…fourteenth…fifteenth hour on the job, this was a nightmare scenario. At least, the EA ordered take out for dinner.