RICHMOND, Va. — City residents were disturbed to discover last week that it was nearly impossible to complete a weekend online restaurant booking in Richmond, and even more upset when it came to light that the difficulty was, in fact, due to Russian hackers.
This past Saturday, the city fell victim to a shocking covert internet manipulation that left every Richmond restaurant with an OpenTable account completely booked for the entire day. “When we came in for setup and found ourselves completely booked for the day we were so excited,” reported the maître d’ of a popular Broad Street restaurant who asked to remain anonymous. “We are normally pretty well booked on the weekends but it did certainly seem exceptional.”
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For the whole day, Richmonders attempted to make reservations at their favorite weekend watering holes only to find no times available. It was only as the dinner shifts began and all reserved tables sat empty that suspicions began to arise.
“First one, then two, then all our reservations were no-shows and the restaurant was completely empty,” reported the same anonymous employee. “We called around to other OpenTable businesses and they all said they were same — they were totally empty.”
In total, 12 Richmond restaurants filed complaints with OpenTable, forcing the online reservation service to launch a full investigation. After meticulously combing through their booking data OpenTable released a report detailing what was obviously a deliberate and surgical attack. A virus was introduced through OpenTable’s back-end FTP system, allowing Russian hacking collective R3d_Scar3_B3ars to run a self-replicating onion protocol worm that reserved every last table in the city. OpenTable said in the same report that they are currently pursuing a means by which they can close this back door.
R3d_Scar3_B3ars have yet to release a statement regarding the intent behind the attack, but it is estimated that hundreds of diners were inconvenienced.