City of Hamilton faces ransomware attack of undisclosed origin

Abonti Nur Ahmed
March 14, 2024
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Amidst ransomware attack on municipal IT infrastructure, Hamilton residents experience disrupted services, including council and committee meetings, phone lines and inaccurate bus times

On Feb. 25, the City of Hamilton experienced the beginning of a ransomware attack. A ransomware attack is when malware is introduced to a person's digital belongings and causes data to be withheld. Furthermore, to retrieve this data usually entails some form of payment to those who have taken the data.

As of Mar. 14, the cause of the ransomware attack is still undisclosed. The City of Hamilton has hired CYPFER, a global cyber security company that helps ransomware victims, to help investigate the ongoing attack. As of Mar. 14, 2024, CYPFER has yet to determine when there will be a full restoration of services.

Several services have been disrupted by this attack, including council and committee meetings, which have been put on hold; Wi-Fi and public computers at Hamilton Public Libraries as well as the ability to place holds on material through their website have been disrupted, and all phone lines, aside from the operational customer contact centre, are currently not accessible.

Since the attack, the Hamilton Street Railway app has been completely offline and bus schedules are subject to variable timings. This dysfunction is further exacerbated as the city's geographic information system is currently completely unavailable as well.

The City of Hamilton has not currently disclosed any information about the cause of the ransomware attack. They have assured that they are continuing to work on the issue in a recent news release.

“The City is also conducting a thorough investigation to determine if any personal information was accessed or compromised. Updates will be provided as new information become available. We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding during this time and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” stated the City of Hamilton on their webpage dedicated to the current cybersecurity incident.

As the City of Hamilton continues to investigate the source, they are providing updates through their website. The City of Hamilton encourage citizens to utilize the operational customer contact centre instead of main lines. The way to contact the city is 905-546-2489 (CITY). 

This is an ongoing story.

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