Advertisement

Cyberattack targeting B.C. government networks led by a ‘state or state-sponsored actor’

Click to play video: 'B.C. cyberattack was likely state directed says province'
B.C. cyberattack was likely state directed says province
A stunning announcement by the B.C. government about a cyberattack. The minister of public safety says he is confident it was likely from a foreign state or state agent. As Kylie Stanton reports, there is concern that not enough is being done to protect the public's information. – May 10, 2024

British Columbia’s public safety minister says he is confident that a cyberattack targeting government networks was led by a “state or state-sponsored actor.”

In the update delivered Friday, Mike Farnworth said he did not know and could not comment on what country may have been involved.

The “sophisticated” nature of the attack and methods used by the intruders to try and cover their tracks led government and private sector experts to conclude the attackers were state-backed, Farnworth said.

Click to play video: 'Minister explains why it took 2 weeks after cyberattack for province to notify employees'
Minister explains why it took 2 weeks after cyberattack for province to notify employees

Earlier Friday, the head of B.C.’s Public Service, Shannon Salter, said the initial intrusion was detected on April 10 and confirmed the following day.

Story continues below advertisement

B.C. Premier David Eby was briefed about the incident on April 17, while the public service was directed to strengthen their passwords on April 19. Cabinet was not briefed until Wednesday of this week, the same day the cyberattack was publicly revealed.

Click to play video: 'B.C. cyberattack was likely state directed says province'
B.C. cyberattack was likely state directed says province

Farnworth said the information was held back on the advice of cybersecurity experts for security reasons, as they worked to understand and secure against the attack.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.
For news impacting Canada and around the world, sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to you when they happen.

Get breaking National news

For news impacting Canada and around the world, sign up for breaking news alerts delivered directly to you when they happen.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

“If you give that information out, or say there has been an intrusion or attack before that work is done, what you end up doing is leaving the system open for even greater compromising and even greater intrusion,” Farnworth said.

“So, the first priority is to make sure the system is secure … and then and only then are you able to provide information to the public. We follow the advice of the experts.”

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'B.C. government network hit by cyberattack'
B.C. government network hit by cyberattack

Farnworth said the province was working with the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity and Microsoft’s Detection and Response Team. Police are also involved and Farnworth said he has been in regular contact with the federal government over the incident.

The intrusion was not a ransomware attack, Farnworth said. He did not specify what the intruders may have been looking for, other than to suggest that governments are always a target.

The minister added that the province is confident in its information security, pointing to a staff of 76 people in the Ministry of Citizens Services tasked with cybersecurity. He added the province is also confident measures are in place to ensure remote work by government employees is secure.

“The reality is this is the world we live in, and it is constantly evolving and government places a high priority on making sure we are also evolving and keeping up with the changes that we are seeing,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'London Drugs investigates cyberattack and possible impact on personal information'
London Drugs investigates cyberattack and possible impact on personal information

On Thursday, BC United Official Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon said the government owes it to the public to provide more detail.

He pointed to the recent London Drugs cybersecurity incident, noting the company provided near-daily updates on the situation.

“We know that for at least eight days they have known this was an issue,” Falcon said.

“And last night, they quietly released a statement in the midst of a Canucks playoff hockey game, which is part of their pattern of always being secretive about things and not transparent.”

Farnworth said once an investigation is complete into the incident, the province will undertake a “full review” of the incident and provide more information to the public.

Advertisement

Sponsored content

AdChoices