Computer hackers tried to destroy a Knoxville salon's business.
Owners of Metropolis Hair Fashions say, two weeks ago, the hackers took their client list hostage and demanded money for the records' safe return.
Now, the Bearden salon is piecing back together their client's appointments, relying less on technology.
Scott Stuart couldn't believe when he heard about a hack job.
"It's the most frustrating situation I have been in in my career," said Stuart.
No it wasn't a bad hair cut, instead, someone literally hacked into his company's computer hard drive, stole its contents, and demanded money.
It wiped out Metropolis Hair Fashions inventory, client information and all of their bookings for the rest of the year.
Computer expert, Thomas Hill said, "This is the same thing as if someone threw a brick through a window, came in and stole the appointment book and ran off with it and left a note saying, "I'll give it back for "x" amount of dollars."
Hill owns Computer Depot Inc. in Knoxville. He's hired by the salon to do software and computer security.
He says what happened is rare. Usually, these hackers go after big corporations and steal credit card numbers.
"The people that stole it understand that the data is valuable to the small business," said Hill, "They are hoping the small business will pay them something to get the data back. That is unusual because it's a pretty new attempt."
The data loss meant Scott Stuart's salon couldn't call and remind clients of their appointments. So, stylists went days without customers.
"The only thing we can do is make manual phone calls to more than 2,000 people," said Stuart, "Manual e-mails to 2,000 and hope they communicate with us."
That's exactly what they did. Stuart says they had clients names and numbers saved on paper.
Stuart says Computer Depot Inc. has fixed the software, made it stronger, and they are now relying less on technology and going back to pen and paper.
From now on, every appointment will be added in the computer and in a paper appointment book.
Computer Depot Inc. has a few tips to make sure you are not a victim: Change your passwords to twenty characters and set-up a system that your computer locks up after a certain number of password attempts.
Metropolis says client credit card information was not compromised.
They do not know where the breach originated and did not report it to local police.