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N.L. rebuilding ‘from scratch’ systems downed by cyberattack using backups: official

December 15, 2021   by The Canadian Press

Ransomware on a laptop

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – An Irish expert says the fact Newfoundland and Labrador has to rebuild “from scratch” systems affected by an Oct. 30 cyberattack provides a new clue about the attack and its progress.

Brian Honan said in an interview today that when victims of ransomware attacks have to completely rebuild systems, it’s typically because they did not obtain a decryption key from the perpetrators or the key they received doesn’t work.

David Diamond, chief executive officer of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest health authority, told reporters Tuesday that systems were being rebuilt “from scratch” using backups.

Honan, a cybersecurity consultant and former special adviser to Europol’s Cyber Crime Centre, says rebuilding systems from backups could also mean data is lost if the backups weren’t up to date.

Hackers behind ransomware attacks often hold computer systems and their users hostage by blocking access to data through encryption, and then demanding a fee for a key to decrypt it.

Ireland’s health-care system was hit in May with a ransomware attack that experts have compared to the attack against Newfoundland and Labrador.


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