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Victimized by cyber attack, NASCAR Sprint Cup team finds help from new partner

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 - Practice

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 24: Michael McDowell, driver of the #95 KLOVE Radio Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 24, 2016 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

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A NASCAR Sprint Cup team was the victim of a cyber attack earlier this year and paid a ransom to retrieve valuable information.

Since the attack, the No. 95 Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team has partnered with Malwarebytes, a malware prevention and remediation solution company.

The team stated in a release that computers with track data from races and test facilities and personnel information were infected. Those responsible demanded the team pay a ransom within 48 hours or lose their data.

The team valued the information being held hostage — car part lists, custom high-profile simulation setups, etc. — at $2 million. The team stated that it would have taken 1,500 man-hours to recreate the information.

“Just knowing that we could lose everything that we had worked so hard to achieve was terrifying,” crew chief Dave Winston said in a team release. “The data that they were threatening to take from us was priceless, we couldn’t go one day without it greatly impacting the team’s future success. This was a completely foreign experience for all of us, and we had no idea what to do. What we did know was that if we didn’t get the files back, we would lose years worth of work valued at millions of dollars.”

After paying the ransom, the team sought a company to protect its computer data. After running and installing Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, the company found and eliminated malware infection from more than 10,000 files.

“Like most companies, we felt we had solid security in place on our digital intelligence with our software and firewalls, but this is a very new threat,” said Jeremy Lange, vice president at Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. “It’s an area of coverage that you don’t realize you need until it happens to you. We’re lucky that it all worked out, and now having this partnership with Malwarebytes, we hope to inform NASCAR fans and the industry of this threat and the solution.”

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