Barnes and Noble was hacked a couple of weeks ago and they were a victim of a malicious ransomware attack from a group called Egregor. They have published 1% of database they hacked and are making the entire dump available on the darkweb. Barnes and Noble refused to pay the ransomware and instead restored their database and files. This is why it is taking so long for Nook services to come back online, along with subscriptions for magazines/newspapers and pre-orders that were placed for ebooks that have already come out.
It is unknown exactly how the ransomware initially was installed. Most groups use multiple attack strategies. 50% of incidents are the result of a coordinated email phishing campaign. The other 50% the result of improperly secured internet-facing servers being compromised in one way or another.
Egregor is not currently charging for the database, this is likely because credit card numbers were encrypted. The value of the Barnes and Noble assets is not that great, because of the lack of true financial data. The things that were stolen were email accounts, addresses and purchase history. It is currently unknown if the group also stole the Nook operating system or the source code for the apps. A few months ago Egregor also hacked Ubisoft and published game data and documents about future game titles.
At the very least, we now have a very clear picture that B&N was hacked by Ransomware. The bookseller has not paid the hackers and elected to restore their files and database. The company did publish a public statement at the end of last week, that basically outlined they were a victim of a cyberattack and no credit cards were stolen.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.