Ransomware attack shuts down small Canadian town; officials pay ransom

The small Canadian town of Midland, Ontario, was hit by ransomware, and the municipality seems to be negotiating with hackers to pay ransom, reports Canadian news station CTV News.

The attack on September 1 completely shut down the computer system, leaving the municipality unable to use its financial processing system. During the shutdown, debit and credit card payments were not accepted.

Considering common attack strategies in ransomware-related hacks, an employee most likely made the mistake of opening an infected email attachment that closed down for 48 hours all computers hooked up to the network. According to Mayor Gord McKay, there is no evidence to support the claim that residents’ personal data was compromised.

Town officials did not reveal the exact numbers requested by the hacker or how the breach actually happened, but they are negotiating and will pay ransom, as it is covered in the insurance policy. Following a ransomware attack earlier this year that shut down a nearby town completely for a few weeks, Midland town officials took a number of security measures, including a firewall upgrade and an insurance policy to cover ransomware attacks.

The computer system is slowly returning to normal and everything should be fixed in a few days as negotiations are reaching a consensus. Once they get this situation out if the way, Midland officials plan on further investing in cybersecurity and upgrading all security to avoid security incidents and data breaches in the future.

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