Canadian Underwriter

Computer woes continue for government after cyber attack

November 7, 2019   by The Canadian Press

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IQALUIT, Nunavut – The government of Nunavut is still struggling with computer systems paralyzed by a cyber attack last weekend.

“Network recovery is ongoing as the (territory) works to uncover information, prepare recovery plans and work on department priorities,” said a government statement.

The Nunavut flag and the Canadian flag are seen Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Major government departments in Nunavut are at least still partly impacted after a weekend cyber attack. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Early Saturday morning, the government’s entire computer system went dark after a ransomware attack encrypted individual files on various servers and workstations, locking out regular users. Civil servants still have no access to any records or files on government computers.

All government computers in the territorial capital of Iqaluit were being collected Thursday so that they can be reformatted. Officials said they were still working on what to do with computers in Nunavut’s 25 far-flung communities.

Residents on income assistance who normally receive cheques are being asked to report to their nearest government office for food vouchers redeemable at grocery stores instead.

Government offices remain open but are relying on fax machines, telephone calls and paper forms.

“Services remain available and open, but some services will be delayed,” the government said.

Still, territorial officials said paycheques due next week for civil servants are expected to be delivered as scheduled.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said contingency plans are working well and databanks are being rebuilt from backup files. Staff are focusing on restoring Health, Family Services, Finance and Justice departments first.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019.

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