Ottawa

Eastern Ontario community hit with ransomware attack

An eastern Ontario municipality that was the subject of a ransomware attack late last month is just now restoring all of its services.

The Nation, Ont., has computer networks frozen in online attack

The municipality had its computer networks frozen by the hack. (Brian Jackson/Shutterstock)

An eastern Ontario municipality that was the subject of a ransomware attack late last month is just now restoring all of its services.

The Nation, Ont., a municipality near Casselman, Ont., was hit with the attack on Sunday, June 30, according to a statement on its website.  

The municipality's computer networks were illegally accessed and infected with ransomware. The ransomware encrypted the computer system, rendering some programs, including the municipality's email system, unusable. 

Mayor François St. Amour said it has been a struggle for the municipality.  

"It is problematic for our employees. They can't send or receive emails," he said. 

He said, with the exception of email, all of the city's services have been restored and that email is expected to be back within a day or two. 

"The only thing left to fix is our email accounts and this is a lot more work, because we have to do each one individually." 

Reported to police, privacy commissioner

The municipality has reported the attack to police and to the Ontario Information and Privacy commissioner. St. Amour said they don't believe resident data was compromised. 

"These people do not care for the data that is in there, they only care to freeze it and make us pay to get our own data," he said. 

He said the hackers were demanding to be paid in bitcoin at a value of between $7,000 and $10,000, which the municipality refused to pay.

According to St. Amour, new security measures and protocols are being added to reduce the risk of a future attack.

"We have to learn from what happened," he said. "Most of our servers at nighttime will be shut-down, and it's going to a more rigorous logging-in process. It's going to inconvenience most of the users, but that's what you have to do to have higher security."

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