Over the past two weeks two local cyber attacks have occurred. The small town of St. Mary's with roughly 7,500 residents, just over an hour and a half drive north-west of Toronto, was hit by the LockBit 3.0 strain of ransomware.
Brett Kittmer, the town’s chief administrative officer, says, “We are 80 percent operational,” he said, with hopes that all data will be recovered from backups by the end of the week. “Internal staff are working away mostly normally today.”
Critical municipal services, including fire, police, transit, and water/wastewater systems were unaffected by the incident and are operating as usual. Municipal staff are performing their regular duties and are available by phone, email or in person at town facilities.
No ransom demand has been received by the municipality. However, the LockBit gang has posted a letter it claims to be from the data it copied as proof of the attack.
The municipality is still trying to determine if any personally identifiable data was taken and copied.
“A number of our staff have put in incredible hours to the issue,” Kittmer said, “but we’re taking some very positive steps.”
"The town is now working with cyber incident response experts to investigate the source of the incident, restore its backup data, and assess the impact on its information if any. These experts are also assisting staff as they work to fully unlock and decrypt the Town’s systems, a process, the municipality admits, that could take days."
The town of St.Mary's was not the only victim of a recent cyber attack. The Waterloo Regional District School Board confirmed last Wednesday that they also had been targeted.
In a letter issued to parents Wednesday night, the Waterloo Regional District School Board says it recently discovered that it had been hacked.
“We are working tirelessly to determine the content of this data, and we will update you as we learn more.”
“While we believe that any risk to our students’ sensitive information is low, it was important to us to make you aware of this incident,” the note read.
“The privacy of our students’ information is very important to us and we are sorry that this incident happened. We will keep you informed of any further relevant information becomes available.”
A spokesperson for the board told Global News that it could be some time before it discovers how the attack occurred and what has been impacted.
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