City of Hamilton confirms ransomware attack, mayor promises ‘full review’

As the number of cyberattacks grows, more people are seeking out personal cyber insurance. A woman types on a laptop on a train in New Jersey on May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Jenny Kane.

With a widespread cybersecurity breach into its second week, Global News has a key confirmation from Hamilton City Hall.

City Manager Marnie Cluckie confirmed, during a media briefing late Monday afternoon, that the city was recently hit by a ransomware attack.

She did not expand on the source of the cyberattack, or the demands, adding that she is “limited” in what she can share about the ongoing situation.

Ransomware attacks involve the stealing of data by hackers, who then hold it hostage for payment.

“As of this moment, we do not believe that people’s personal data and information has been accessed,” added Cluckie.

There’s no timeline for when systems will be restored, with Cluckie saying that will only happen when the city is confident it can happen “safely and securely.”

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Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath also took part in Monday’s briefing, ensuring that once systems have been restored there will be “a full review of how this breach was able to happen.”

The nine-day-old cyberattack has affected a wide range of municipal services including phone lines, Wi-Fi, transit apps and electronic payments.  This past weekend, registration for spring recreation programs was paused until further notice.

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