Blog / Hackers Strike Another Unsuspecting Victim

To their credit, the municipality reported the breach to the RCMP and Alberta’s Privacy Commissioner. In fact, reports say that the RCMP have a team onsite – no doubt doing some forensic investigation work. It might be several months before the causes and effects are truly known – if ever.

It is also reported that the municipality will be offline for about 2 weeks!  That most likely includes internal systems as well.  This will impose a significant hardship on staff and rate payers alike, as transactions will have to revert to manual paper. It’s not exactly the backup plan they had in mind.

This attack – and the one recently at the University of Calgary – highlight the escalating problem of hacker attacks on small and medium-sized networks. It used to be that hackers were attacking networks for malevolent reasons – and just because they could; they’d cause trouble for trouble’s sake. However, with the monetizing of the attacks – the University of Calgary reportedly paid a ransom of $25,000 – the hackers are becoming more organized and innovative in their attack methods. How long will it be before organized crime recognize this as a cash-generator? It is almost with certainty that we can expect more aggressive attacks in the very near future.

So, the appeal once again is to be equally aggressive in protecting your networks with:

  • State-of-the-art firewalls that use Cloud Services to dynamically block potential threats
  • State-of-the-art anti-virus software installed on ALL devices with daily updates
  • Comprehensive backups of all servers and data – complete with secure offsite media storage
  • Proper configuration and constant monitoring of firewalls, anti-virus, and backups
  • Effective and documented policies and procedures that highlight acceptable use of corporate IT assets and Disaster Recovery processes.
  • Staff training to raise awareness of threats and counter-measures.

It is a problem to be taken seriously – as some organizations are finding out. Please contact your Primary Tech, or Bradley Siddell – our Director of Cyber Security – if you would like more information on how to protect your organization from malicious attacks.