Cyber Attacks Strike the Public and Private Sectors of Ontario

Ontario Suffers Ransomware Attacks from Unknown Variants

The last couple weeks have been rough for Ontario, leaving both the private and public sectors riddled with ransomware.  First, on October 25th, cyber criminals attacked the Toronto company, ESC Corporate Services.  ESC is an organization that resells sensitive personal and business data collected by the Ontario government.  The hackers wormed their way into the system and installed an unknown ransomware variant.  After successfully encrypting company files, they demanded their ransom.  According to The Star, the ransom demands were not paid, and company systems remained down for a week.  While systems were down, the company reported an “outage” to anyone who attempted to visit its website.  A week post-attack, notifications were displayed stating the “outage” had been resolved.

ESC is conducting their own internal investigation and has yet to notify the authorities.  At this time, the investigation has not confirmed if consumer data was viewed or taken from the network.  The data in question includes corporate records, names and home addresses of directors, and the registration of auto, marine, and equipment liens.

In addition to the attack on ESC, another unknown ransomware variant infected the West Nipissing Police, of Ontario.  Due to the attack, police officials have issued warnings, asking people not to open emails or attachments that they don’t recognize or trust.  Thankfully, West Nipissing’s backup records were updated and were not impacted by the cyber attack.  Therefore, the IT team was able to recover its data using backup files.

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