First Nations Health Authority latest B.C. victim of cyberattack

Click to play video: 'High-profile cyberattacks on the rise'
High-profile cyberattacks on the rise
WATCH: Earlier this month, London Drugs stores reopened after a cyberattack forced their closure for more than a week. As Aaron McArthur reports, another high-profile cyberattack is being made public, this time on a B.C. health authority – May 22, 2024

British Columbia’s First Nations Health Authority has confirmed it has been the victim of a cyberattack.

In a media release Wednesday, the health authority said it detected the intrusion into its corporate network on May 13.

Officials were able to deploy countermeasures in time to prevent the attackers from encrypting its network, but the health authority said it believes “certain employee information and limited personal information of others has been impacted.”

Click to play video: 'Cybercriminals may release London Drugs data if ransom demands not met'
Cybercriminals may release London Drugs data if ransom demands not met

The health authority did not specify what type of employee or public data could be affected, or whether sensitive information such as health records were accessed, saying only that there was no evidence the attack “impacted any clinical information systems.”

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The health authority has engaged outside cybersecurity experts and notified law enforcement and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

It added that there was no indication the attack was linked to a series of recent high-profile cybersecurity incidents in the province, including an allegedly state-sponsored attack targeting the B.C. government itself.

Word of the health authority attack comes just one day after it was revealed that London Drugs is facing a multi-million dollar ransom demand from notorious ransomware gang LockBit.

“I can tell you that it is different from what the province faced, and it is also different from what the London Drugs incident was,” B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said of the FNHA attack.

London Drugs was forced to close all of its stores in Western Canada for more than a week at the start of May and confirmed Tuesday that it believed the cyber attackers had accessed employee files.

Click to play video: 'B.C. government identifies cyber security incidents'
B.C. government identifies cyber security incidents

Cybersecurity experts say LockBit has threatened to release the data onto the dark web unless London Drugs pays $25 million.

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Roger Gale, program head of industrial network cybersecurity at BCIT, said with cyberattacks on the rise it is more important than ever for organizations to take precautions.

In the London Drugs case, he said the fact the attackers apparently weren’t able to access customer data suggests precautions on the company’s part to keep systems segregated.

But he said organizations targeted by cybercriminals need to be more forthcoming about how the attackers got in — so that others can ward against them.

“You think about all of the companies that are about the same size as London Drugs. and if LD was attacked by LockBit ransomware any company is vulnerable in that way,” he said. “That is exactly what I would need to know, how was it they got in, what do I need to do to prevent this from happening to other organizations.”

The First Nations Health Authority, meanwhile, said it is conducting a forensic investigation into what happened.

It added that it has taken action to issue “required notifications to impacted individuals.”

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