Saint John’s recovery from cyberattack to stretch into 2021

Click to play video: 'Gov’t agency warns infrastructure at risk from cyberattacks'
Gov’t agency warns infrastructure at risk from cyberattacks
The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s new report says the most pressing threat to Canadians is from hacked infrastructure. Saskatchewan's utilities said they're prepared - but a cybersecurity expert warns it's an ongoing competition – Nov 20, 2020

It’s been nearly a month since the City of Saint John said hackers seized its IT services in a ransomware attack – and City Manager John Collin says it’ll be at least another before things are back to normal.

At Monday night’s meeting of Common Council, Collin said staff working on the file will be granted a “well-deserved rest” over the holidays.

“We do not anticipate that our IT services, our networks if you will, will be rejoined to the public until sometime later on in January,” he told the city’s mayor and council.

READ MORE: Expert says odds are against municipalities amid ‘significant cyber attack’ on City of Saint John

Collin said Saint John’s networks won’t be made public again until staff is 100 per cent sure it’s safe to do so.

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“Our approach, in terms of determining that it is safe to do so is very deliberate and exhaustive,” he said.

In the meantime, Collin said all services have been restored in some form or another, with transactions like building permits and some payment services happening manually inside city hall.

He said the ability to deliver these services grants the city the time to carefully and properly get things going again.

Click to play video: 'Several attempts have been made to infect information systems in Fredericton'
Several attempts have been made to infect information systems in Fredericton

Saint John’s websites, as well as some city hall phone lines and email addresses, went down on Nov. 13 – but it wasn’t until the 15th that residents were told it was because of a cyberattack.

It was another two days before the city confirmed it was ransomware.

The city said it doesn’t know if any personal information was accessed by the hackers responsible, but Collin said there was no sign of that on Nov. 17.

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The city did not disclose how much money was demanded as ransom.

READ MORE: City of Saint John confirms ransomware virus cyberattack

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