#CyberFLASH: Cyberattacks target government of Alberta websites

michael-crerar-cyberAlberta government websites — which hold personal information about everything from protection of children at risk to driver’s licences — are under constant threat of attack, according to the office tasked with keeping them safe.

“On average, this year we have about 500 different attacks every day going on the Alberta government websites,” says Michael Crerar, director of Security Policy and Planning with Service Alberta.

The Government of Alberta hosts about 200 government and agency websites, which provide information on programs and also store personal information from residents in databases.

To keep those pages online, around-the-clock security operations are run from an office in downtown Edmonton, where cyber-security officers monitor and thwart attempted hacks from around the globe. The attacks are preempted, Crerar said, by automated systems and by officers watching trends and events.

“We’re definitely seeing more attacks and they’re becoming more complicated, so our defences have to become more complicated,” he said.

Crerar said the methods used by those attacking the sites are constantly evolving. As such, security officers have learned to adapt quickly.

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