#CyberFLASH: Saint John Development Corporation finds cyber attack damage

GettyImages-556421117The Saint John Development Corporation says it’s working to restore an annual report that it lost to a cyber attack in early 2015.

“We lost a lot of our data,” said General Manager Kent MacIntyre. “We had some [Saint John] city IT people working with us to try to recover that but in the end, it wasn’t recovered.”

According to MacIntyre, sensitive information wasn’t compromised because it was being stored on city servers at the time.

He said the ransomware infected only the office laptops and he doesn’t know why they were hit at all.

“Ransomware isn’t always a targeted attack,” said David Shipley, a member of UNB’s cybersecurity team.

Shipley said organized criminals push out emails that contain malicious software that can scramble information, making it inaccessible without a key.

The perpetrators then demand money to restore the information.

Shipley said it must be paying off, because ransomware attacks have become a huge crime wave around the world.

UNB has seen a significant spike in activity.

A million viruses in a month

“In a typical month, we might receive 149,000 emails with malicious attachments or viruses in them,” said Shipley. “In March, we saw that number almost jump to a million.”

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