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Nova Scotia Business Inc. website shut down due to evidence of unusual activity

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Fri, Apr 20: Nova Scotia Business Inc.'s website was shut down Thursday afternoon after it found evidence of unusual activity, according to the organization. As Steve Silva reports, the unusual activity include what appears to be poorly-translated spam-esque articles about sex – Apr 20, 2018

Nova Scotia Business Inc.’s (NSBI) website was shut down Thursday afternoon after it found evidence of unusual activity, according to the organization.

Shawn Hirtle, director of communications and public affairs for NSBI, said in a late-night phone interview that cached web pages on Google appearing to be from the provincial Crown corporation’s website were found redirecting visitors to porn websites.

“It’s coincidental timing there are international stories headlined as cyberattacks happening globally,” Hirtle said, and “it’s possible” those attacks are related to this matter.

Cached pages are snapshots of web pages from a particular time.

Some of the cached pages, which are still online, include what appear to be poorly-translated spam-esque articles about sex.

The pages that were accessible before the site was taken down didn’t contain the content but their cached counterparts do, Hirtle said.

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The organization “found evidence of IP addresses that seem to originate in the U.S., Russia and Hong Kong which have been active on NSBI’s website,” he said in an earlier statement.

“This does not mean these IP addresses have had access to the content within NSBI’s website.”

Unusual activity was first noticed on Tuesday, and the cached information dates back to April 8.

“We have not found any evidence of impacts affecting our clients,” he said in the statement, and no personal information is kept on the website.

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An investigation is underway, and the unusual activity isn’t believed to be related to what Nova Scotia’s government last week called a breach of its access to information web portal.

“We are working to securely restore the NSBI website to the public, but we do not have a specific timeframe,” Hirtle said in the statement.

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