City Of Hamilton Focuses On Recovery After Ransomware Attack

The remains steadfast in its commitment to resolving the situation expediently while prioritizing community protection.

by Samiksha Jain March 14, 2024 in Firewall Daily, Ransomware News Reading Time: 3 mins read 0

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Hamilton, which is recognized for its resilience, has shifted its focus from responding to a recent ransomware assault to recovery, restoration, and rebuilding activities. City Manager Marnie Cluckie compared the situation to fortifying a besieged fortress, highlighting the importance of preserving critical infrastructure first before going on the restoration road.

“I'll liken it to a castle under attack. You have to first lift the drawbridge up to protect everybody inside and then you start to look at how you will address things,” Cluckie said in a Wednesday afternoon interview with CBC Radio's Here and Now.

City of Hamilton Ransomware Attack: The Aftermath

Since the cyber incident struck on Sunday, February 25, 2024, the city has been grappling with the aftermath of the , which disrupted various municipal services for over two weeks. The exact resolution of the ransomware attack on the City of Hamilton remains shrouded in ambiguity, with uncertainties lingering over whether the ransom was paid and the duration of the rebuilding process.

Despite the challenges posed by this ransomware attack, the city reiterates its commitment to transparency and accountability.

“In addition to safeguarding our systems, we are also looking at all the systems we have,” Cluckie further added.

In response to mounting cybersecurity threats globally, Hamilton maintains a proactive approach to fortifying its IT infrastructure, regularly updating its defense mechanisms. However, as evidenced by this recent breach, no security measure can provide absolute immunity against sophisticated cyber threats.

Despite the setback, critical services such as waste collection, transit, water management, and emergency services remain operational, underscoring the city's resilience amidst adversity. The Customer Contact Centre stands ready to assist residents, albeit with some limitations on online payment systems.

“The city has contained the systems and all of our evidence points to that personal information having not been accessed,” Cluckie reassured.

The ransomware attack not only disrupted municipal operations but also raised concerns regarding the security of personal data and the timely compensation of city workers. Addressing these apprehensions, Cluckie assured that efforts are underway to expedite overtime payments for affected workers, leveraging manual processes due to the unavailability of automated systems.

Moreover, she dispelled speculations regarding potential breaches of personal information, asserting that all evidence indicates containment of sensitive data within the city's systems.

Leadership's Commitment and Collaborative Efforts

Mayor Andrea Horwath and City Manager Marnie Cluckie convened a media briefing to provide updates on the ongoing cybersecurity incident, emphasizing the city's collaborative efforts with experts, legal counsel, insurers, and law enforcement agencies to mitigate the impact and safeguard public trust.

While acknowledging the inconvenience caused to residents, Cluckie expressed gratitude for their patience and resilience during this challenging period. The city remains steadfast in its commitment to restoring services swiftly and securely, prioritizing the well-being of the community above all else.

“While a timeline for recovery is not yet known, the City is committed to resolving the situation as quickly and effectively as possible,” reads the official statement.

Looking ahead, Hamilton vows to conduct a comprehensive review post-recovery, identifying areas for enhancement and implementing measures to fortify its defenses against future cyber threats. As the city navigates through this tumultuous ordeal, the spirit of resilience and solidarity prevails, highlighting Hamilton's unwavering resolve in the face of adversity.

“Since the cybersecurity incident began, we have had a team of experts working diligently to discover what happened and how, and more importantly, to protect our data and systems and to minimize the impacts,” said Cluckie.

“We're pleased that we can still offer most of our City services. I know the City's team has adjusted to help citizens and do some work manually, which is resulting in some delays. It hasn't been easy, and we really appreciate that residents are being patient. We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing.”


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