GN remains “open and available” following ransomware attack
Malicious software encrypts files on GN servers, workstations, rendering them inaccessible
“A new and sophisticated type of ransomware” has affected the Government of Nunavut’s electronic communications system, but essential services will not be affected, the GN said on Sunday evening.
There may be delays, but GN services will remain “open and available” the GN said in a Nov. 3 news release.
“I want to assure Nunavummiut that we are working non-stop to resolve this issue,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq in the Sunday release.
“Essential services will not be impacted and the GN will continue to operate while we work through this issue. There will likely be some delays as we get back online, and I thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”
The penetration of the territory’s internet communications was first revealed on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer system or data, usually by encrypting it, until the victim pays a ransom to the attacker.
In many cases, the ransom demand comes with a deadline and if it’s not paid in time, the data is destroyed forever.
The GN said it is difficult to say how long it will take to get everything back to normal “at this early stage.”
The GN’s phone systems work, but for direct dialing only, the GN said.
But voice mail and phone services in communities are not affected, the release said.
The phone systems at the Qikiqtani General Hospital, schools across the territory, the Baffin Correctional Centre and Nunavut Arctic College are not affected, the GN said.
The GN will announce weather closures or other government messages via social media or on the radio—not through email, the news release said.
The release said GN departments have implemented contingency plans to ensure uninterrupted services to Nunavummiut.
“Restoring electronic data for services related to health, family services, education, justice and finance is a priority,” the release said.
But if you’re going to the QGH or health clinic, bring your health card and a list of any medication you take, the GN said.
The ransomware has encrypted individual files on various servers and workstations, the release said.
As a result, all government services requiring access to electronic information stored on the GN network were affected, with the exception of the Qulliq Energy Corp.
But there was “no concern at this time with the loss of personal information or privacy breaches,” the GN said, adding that ransomware does not distribute information to other parties and can only block the GN from further accessing the information.
“Once the issue was identified, the GN took immediate action by isolating the network, notifying cyber security experts and working with our internet software providers,” the GN said.
The GN said again that it’s working to ensure that data is restored and accessible as soon as possible, and “expects the majority of files will be restored, using existing up-to-date back-ups.”