N.W.T. gov’t spent $716,000 to address November cybersecurity breach

A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this photo illustration. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

Gov’t releasing few details about cyberattack

The Northwest Territories government says it spent $716,000 to address a cyberattack in November.

It says it signed two work orders under existing contracts to help with containment, investigation and response efforts.

The territory says the cybersecurity threat was contained and remediated without the exposure of personal or private information.

The cyberattack was made public by Cabin Radio late last week after the news organization reported that it received an anonymous tip.

The territorial government has released few details, citing confidentiality reasons.

Todd Sasaki, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, did not respond to questions about the precise date and time the attack occurred and how the territory’s information technology systems were affected.

“Keeping the details of cybersecurity events and our response private makes it harder for cyber threat actors to exploit vulnerabilities or discover attack vectors,” Sasaki wrote in an email Tuesday.

‘Will continue to regularly assess’

He added the territorial government actively monitors for suspicious activity and that it “will continue to regularly assess its technologies and capabilities to keep pace with the increasing threats posed by cyber threat actors.”

“All organizations are under constant threat if they are connected to the internet as criminals increasingly leverage vulnerabilities in technology and people to obtain confidential and proprietary information,” Sasaki wrote.

“When this happens, the GNWT mobilizes all available resources to identify and resolve breaches and takes appropriate steps to prevent similar breaches from happening in the future.”

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Nunavut government in Arctic Canada reformatting 2,000 computers after ransomware attack, CBC News

FinlandRussian cyber attacks, espionage pose growing threat to Finnish national security, Yle news

Greenland: Growing focus on Arctic puts Greenland at higher risk of cyber attacks: assessment, Eye on the Arctic

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