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Major hotel chain ditches Windows for Chrome OS after ransomware attack

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Windows 11 Tease (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Nordic Choice Hotels suffered a major ransomware attack in December 2021.
  • As a direct result of the attack, the hotel chain fast-tracked its CloudReady pilot program.
  • Within 72 hours, the chain converted the PCs of 212 hotels across five countries to the Chrome OS ecosystem.

Windows PCs are popular, especially for ransomware opportunists. That's a big part of why Nordic Choice Hotels decided to abandon Windows.

Back in December 2021, the hotel chain suffered a ransomware attack that threatened to cripple its infrastructure. However, as the chain was already in the process of piloting its CloudReady migration from Windows to the Chrome OS ecosystem, it simply kicked the plan into high gear ahead of schedule and within 72 hours of the ransomware strike, 2,000 PCs spanning 212 hotels and five countries were converted (via Mynewsdesk).

Nordic Choice Hotels appears to be happy with its swap and shows no signs of considering a reversion to Windows, at least for the foreseeable future.

It's no secret Windows is a ransomware magnet. According to VirusTotal, 95% of all ransomware attacks go after Microsoft's operating system. And anyone who follows Windows news has likely seen the numerous reports of ransomware raining on the operating system's parade wherever it can, including with regards to pedestrian functions such as Windows-based printing.

As such, it's little surprise that a business unwilling to tolerate ransomware headaches would make the move to abandon the OS altogether and go with a safer alternative, assuming they don't have a need for the specific functionalities Windows affords.

Microsoft and Google have a history of taking swipes at each other's products and highlighting their competition's drawbacks. However, the debate gets a little thornier when it comes to ransomware since in that department, (virtually) all major roads lead to Redmond.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

8 Comments
  • Bringing their data to the cloud, which they did, would solve their vulnerabilities for ransomware when they kept running Windows as well. I still find it hard to believe that there are still companies that store (company-vital) data on-prem in this day and age. Safety is only one reason why you'd want to have your data online.
  • This is a pretty good arguement for something like win11 SE (only for business). Still think an Edgebook would have been a good idea.
  • It sounds like the decision to migrate was already made and they were well into the implementation phase when a ransomware attack occurred. So the attack accelerated implementation but could not have been the reason for switching as this article implies. Furthermore, sketchy details give no clue as to how out-of-date and poorly-configured the legacy infrastructure may have been. I'm not sure who the intended audience is for this kind of reporting, but I'm pretty sure not many experienced CIOs or CTOs will be looking to Windows Central for reliable information on enterprise security.
  • I guess they ran the numbers and calculated it was cheaper to buy new chrome hardware than hire an IT professional that knows what they're doing.
    Lets hope chrome is robust as they expect, and that the rest of their infrastructure doesn't rely on anything they're not managing properly.
    One has to assume though, with how scared they are of a ransomware attack - to the point of moving platforms, they probably don't have a working backup solution in place :(
  • They actually DIDN'T buy new hardware, they use CloudReady. So their IT absolutely knows what they are doing.
  • I can't imagine why a hotel chain would even need Windows systems, ChromeOS would easily handle whatever they would be using it for.
  • Yup. As much as I hate google for its intrusive private data intrusions and tracking. ChromeOS is all you need in web+cloud centric world.
    I can pretty much live for work on a Chromebook. No AV. No AD. No myriad of plug-ins. If you can make it work, it’s an elegant solution.
    MS could easily make an alternative. But they are lost with the current chump in charge. He’s just another wokey say nothing of substance politician. They’ve just been lucky with cloud and having people like mark russanovic around. Panos might even get Windows to have all its settings in the settings app (gasp). For fun. Take a Windows 11 machine, and look at the number of services running by default at startup. It’s insane.
  • Why didn't Microsoft forge ahead with Windows RT back in the day? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know app developers didn't take to it but if Microsoft kept working on it and pushing the OS to business where things like Citrix Workspace is more common, after almost 10 years, I reckon it would've been a compelling OS. It had an ARM version of Office and UWP was starting to evolve. Microsoft should've kept plodding along improving and developing WinRT apps. It's 2022 and we're still downloading exe installers from unknown sources on the Web to get apps that are built on an insecure Win32 platform. Short-sighted, I think.