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Crime

City of Stratford faced with ‘ransomware situation’

Stratford City Hall on 1 Wellington Street.
Stratford City Hall on 1 Wellington Street. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

The mayor of Stratford says the city is dealing with a suspected ransomware incident.

Mayor Dan Mathieson said the city first caught wind of suspicious activity after staff experienced “challenges” with city servers on Sunday.

“We were at first looking at whether or not it was a cyberattack or a hack. It looks to be a ransomware situation.”

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A post on the city’s Facebook page elaborated on the server issues, adding that email systems and online forms were unavailable as of Sunday night.

Mathieson confirmed to Global News Radio 980 CFPL that city servers were still down as of Monday afternoon.

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A ransomware is a malicious software that is designed to block a user’s access to their own computer systems. In most cases, the virtual restrictions are not lifted until a sum of money is paid.

Mathieson added that phone systems were taken down by the city as a safety precaution, but have since been brought back.

While the city faces problems online, the mayor said municipal operations are still running offline.

“Whether it be community services or public works. Social services are still meeting with clients,” Mathieson said.

“Anyone that needs to interact, though, with an information system, database or computer, their ability to work today is somewhat limited.”

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Mathieson said no personal data or information was taken from Stratford servers, but added that it is hard to know when the city will have more answers.

“It’s very methodical work they’re doing… it’s about the quality of the work and making sure everything’s safe and secure.”

A combination of police and cyber security officials are continuing to investigate, but there is no word on what may have caused the suspected ransomware incident.

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WATCH: 2 Iranian citizens indicted for ransomware attacks (November 2018)

2 Iranian citizens indicted for ransomware attacks
2 Iranian citizens indicted for ransomware attacks
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