Welcome to Cyber Clues

Written by Victoria Wilson
Cyber Clues Silhouettes

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you-oooou

Happy birthday to you!


Everyone claps and cheers, almost loud enough to cover up the WiFi cutting out the playlist Tara put together for your colleague’s birthday.

“Well, at least she’s not streaming it this time!” you think to yourself. Tara is renowned for her musical knowledge – she must have multiple USB’s that she brings in with every genre and era possible. The size of the files on the USB must be huge so sometimes she streams – the pirate something or other is a firm favourite of hers.


Bimela bursts in, “Excuse me sorry did I miss it, I’m sorry a customer was on the phone!”

Ever busy, Bimela never means to miss socials in the office. Or training for that matter as you make a mental note in your head to reschedule her security training course for the second time. 


The crowd seems to disperse, cake in hand back to their desks. You take your slice and follow them, so much to do with year-end approaching – everyone’s been really stressed getting all their reports ready. Even Cameron who usually works in a whirlwind has been getting hot under the collar – he’s the go to for all information, he’s just a vat of knowledge. You fire him a quick email about some meetings later on in the week and straight away he replies. “So thorough” you think to yourself. “He never misses a thing”.


The day flies by, as it always does when it’s busy and there’s cake on offer – you go to shut your laptop down and are prompted for an update – may as well click yes as for once it’s not while you’re in the middle of something! A groan echoes from the back of the office, you know without turning around that it must be Pascal. He HATES updates – he gets so used to his computer working in a certain way, the updates change everything and now is not the time to learn how to navigate what he calls ‘a practically new system’. You smile as you pack your bag and say bye to Fabio next to you who’s frantically searching his notebook for a password before he heads off home too.


Your colleagues are great. Wilma holds open the door for you as you leave and chats about how she has been helping someone who’s not even a customer to set up their IT – similar to the infrastructures your company uses. Sounds interesting, but you’re keen to get home and get dinner on! 


Fast forward 16 hours and you’re scanning your fob and entering the office. No cake, no smiles, no calmness. You look around as colleagues are racing everywhere. Out come the network cables, the computers are shut down; it’s a complete frenzy. Wide eyed, you place your coffee down as Wilma comes running over.

“We’ve been hacked! It’s all infected – why has this happened?! Who could do such a thing!?”


Wilma, the one who believes in the good in every person now in shock that a hacker is behind all this. Your brain is whirring, you feel panic rising but you need to stay calm. You recall hearing that cyber security measures from SysGroup were postponed by your company until after year end. You think to yourself “what a difference a few weeks would have made by doing it earlier.”


You make a plan to answer three main questions:
  1. What has infected the systems?
  2. Where did it originally hit the company?
  3. Who did it hit first?


You’re going to start with what has infected the systems – time is ticking and you need to know what you’re dealing with. Employees start bringing you information and you’ve managed to narrow it down to 7 possible types of malware.


  1. Ransomware – ransomware blocks or leaks access to data or your network unless a ransom is paid. It’s the most common form of attack and can affect any size or organisation.
  2. Rootkit – Rootkit is a set of software tools that enable an unauthorised user to gain control of a computer system without being detected.
  3. Virus – a virus is a piece of code which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect such as corrupting the system or destroying data.
  4. DDoS – a distributed denial of service attach is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming and flooding it with traffic from multiple sources.
  5. Security bug – a security bug introduces security vulnerabilities by compromising one or more of: authentication of users and other entities.
  6. Spyware – spyware is a software which enables a user to obtain covert information about another’s computer activities by transmitting data covertly from their hard drive.
  7. Worm – worms are a parasite. A malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining active on infected systems.


Okay, okay now where could it have happened? 


The office isn’t huge – 8 main departments but there’s also the coffee shop across the road that’s a firm favourite with many of your colleagues. So again, you narrow it down;

  1. The boardroom
  2. Sales
  3. Marketing hub
  4. IT department
  5. The kitchen
  6. Reception
  7. Chill out zone
  8. Accounts department
  9. Coffee shop


You feel like you’re making some progress. But a room is too vague. You need to know who’s device it entered on – it needs to be quarantined and scanned! You gather your colleagues who could have had the infected device for a meeting to determine what has happened. You do the old fashioned walk around the office to invite them to the boardroom to discuss. E-calendar invites were so much easier, but with the computers all off, what can you do? So off you go. In the boardroom ready to discuss sits:

  • Fabio
  • Bimela
  • Tara
  • Pascal
  • Wilma
  • Cameron


It’s time to delve deeper and find the remedy using the clues once and for all. Time is of the essence…

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