After the success of their previous Hack Attack, Cyber Security consultancy Punk Security teamed up with Made Smarter and the police-led North East Business Resilience Centre for an even bigger attack demo in York.

More than 50 business leaders packed the Guildhall on Monday October 23 ready to learn more about cyber security.

After an introduction by Made Smarter’s Mike Pennington, Punk Security’s Daniel Oates-Lee and Simon Gurney took to the stage and began setting the scene of the attack. During this first part they showed how the attacker found a way in, along with other potential scenarios businesses may face. By the end of part one, the environment had been breached and the attacker was in!

Then, Det Insp Martin Wilson from the North East Business Resilience Centre spoke of the trends of recent months with case studies.

Following Martin’s talk, the Punk Security experts returned to the scenario, where things quickly developed into a full-blown cyber-attack. The attacker had successfully gained access and had proceeded to encrypt the organisation’s data, holding the business to ransom.

The targeted business was now faced with a decision… to pay the ransom? Or not? If they do, how can they be sure they will indeed have their data returned? If they don’t pay, how do they get it back? The advice given by most professionals and the police is always that if you find yourself in this position, do not pay the ransom.

The final stage of the demonstration showed how the affected business responded following the incident and began the recovery process, highlighting the importance of resilient back-up procedures and storage, the need to inform the ICO and to have a strong incident response plan to prepare for future incidents.

Then, followed a Q&A and networking lunch.

Simon Gurney, speaker and Cyber Security consultant from Punk Security, said: “It was incredible to see so many businesses in our area show such an interest in improving their cyber security resiliency. Everyone was really engaged throughout and feedback following the event has been brilliant. It feels great to give back to the community where we can, and we look forward to doing more of these free awareness events in the future.”

If you’re interested in the team holding a similar event for your organisation, or learning more about cyber security, get in touch at

More information on the topic of ransomware can also be found on the NCSC website.