GN taking over Qulliq Energy Corp.’s IT system in wake of cyberattack
Energy corporation’s IT system needs ‘significant’ modernization, says minister
The Government of Nunavut is taking over Qulliq Energy Corp.’s information technology system.
The transition, announced by Premier P.J. Akeeagok in the legislature earlier this month, was prompted by a cyberattack, which hit the corporation Jan. 15.
It shut down access to critical data and applications like email, project files, procurement, payroll, accounts receivables and payables, and client information.
In March, Bill Nippard, vice-president of operations and engineering said there was no evidence that customer data was compromised in the attack, although an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The severity of the cyberattack prompted the GN to transition Qulliq’s IT system to its own network on a permanent basis, Akeeagok said.
“QEC’s ongoing IT needs are significant,” he said in the legislative assembly.
Community and Government Services Minister David Joanasie said in the legislature that the corporation’s information technology infrastructure requires “significant modernization and transformation due to deficits in various areas, such as switches, servers, storage, and bandwidth.”
“These deficiencies pose a risk to Qulliq Energy Corporation operations,” he said, adding that Community and Government Services’ IT department manages an average of 7,097 threats per day.
Tina Nleya, director of corporate affairs for QEC, said allowing the GN to take over the corporation’s IT operations was the “best solution” to defend against future attacks.
“The GN has already made significant investments in its IT infrastructure that helps improve and support critical services for our communities, and its modernized systems have the capacity to accommodate QEC,” Nleya said.
“This collaboration between QEC and GN is the most effective and affordable option to protect operations and customer data.”
There will be no increased costs for QEC customers as a result of the transition, Nleya said.
Joanasie said the transition of QEC network operations to his department will include a thorough analysis of organizational design, housing, unions and location of positions.
“The need for robust network security is genuine and continuously growing and the potential cost of cyberattacks cannot be underestimated,” he said.