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September cyberattack cost Woodstock nearly $670,000: report

A recent cyberattack cost the City of Woodstock hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a recent report. Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

The City of Woodstock paid nearly $670,000 in order to deal with a recent cyberattack, according to a new report from city staff.

The cyberattack, first reported in late September, caused a shutdown of the city’s entire computer network. This left those on the network without access to emails and other resources needed to continue normal business operations.

READ MORE: ‘Cyberattack’ on City of Woodstock being investigated — official

The report, which goes before city council on Thursday, said the expenses incurred since Sept. 20 total $667,627.18.

The biggest cost comes from professional fees paid to Deloitte LLP, whose services were retained to “provide incident response management, forensics analysis and assistance to our information technology staff with the recovery efforts.”

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Other costs stem from buying hardware and other professional services, along with providing compensation to administrative support staff in the city’s IT and finance departments.

“During the restoration period, this team dealt with challenges both physical and professional,” the report said.

“From Sept. 20 and up to and including Nov. 30, 2019, they collectively worked in excess of 880 hours in overtime.”

The report added that the overtime does not account for statutory holidays worked or vacation time that could not be taken during the restoration.

A full list of expenses incurred following a recent cyberattack in Woodstock. The City of Woodstock

READ MORE: City of London IT taking steps to protect municipal software amid spate of Ontario cyberattacks

The city did not reach out to those behind the cyberattack or pay a ransom during the incident, according to the report. It added that the expenses listed in the report “would have been incurred whether or not the ransom had been paid.”

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A tape backup system that went unaffected during the cyberattack was used to restore information and software once the city’s network was rebuilt.

“We now have a system that provides us with a much higher level of resiliency and security moving forward,” the report added.

READ MORE: City of Stratford faced with ‘ransomware situation’

In order to pay for the expenses, city staff are recommending Woodstock use all of its modernization grant — a provincial fund that totals $232,619 for the city.

Staff recommend paying for the rest by pulling nearly $55,000 from its salaries and benefits reserve fund, with the remaining cost being paid for by the city’s hydro reserve fund.

Also mentioned in the report is a similar attack that targeted the Woodstock Police Service.

“We will be approaching council to finance those costs as well once they are known,” the report said.

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