It took a little more than a week for The Nation Municipality to regain control over the municipality’s computer system, after unidentified hackers broke into the municipality’s servers, files and email systems.
On Sunday, June 30, the municipality’s systems were taken over by hackers using ransomware. They demanded a ransom from the municipality in exchange for access to its data.
The municipality did not provide the ransom. It contacted the Russell County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The Cybercrime Investigation Team, based at OPP headquarters in Orillia sent personnel to investigate the situation on location.
Mayor Francois St-Amour said it took about eight days for the servers, files, and email systems to be unlocked.
Staff and council did not have access to their email accounts. Service was restored before noon on July 10.
“No data was stolen,” assured St-Amour.
He said the hackers who attempted to hold the municipal computer system ransom were likely from outside Canada and were not interested in obtaining information, but instead wanted ransom money.
“They’re not that interested in stealing data, they just want to lock it and hold it ransom for money,” St-Amour said.
Investigations have found no evidence that information about residents, property owners, and employees was stolen. The municipality notified the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario about the incident.
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