Lessons Learned from the Nunavut Ransomware Attacks

So, you’ve likely heard that the government of Nunavut was subject to a ransomware cyberattack in early November 2019. If not, you can read more about it here – https://globalnews.ca/news/6120812/nunavut-ransomware-attack/  

While we all know that our northern neighbors in Nunavut are not a populous crowd (36,000 people in an area of 2 million square kilometers), it is certainly disturbing to think that a cyberattack has shut down all essential government services. This may be the first time that an entire government has been shut down by cybercriminals. (thankfully, the energy services were not affected) 

Clearly, cyberattacks are not only on the rise in terms of frequency, but are becoming increasingly disruptive. Who’s next? None of us wants it to be our organization!  

So, what lessons can we learn from what the government of Nunavut has experienced? 

  • Don’t be fooled into thinking, “My business is small and in a rural area…hackers have no interest in me.”  Hackers willingly cause disruption and havoc wherever opportunity exists. They don’t care how big you are or where you’re located. If you’re online, you are a target. 
  • Backups are the failsafe. But, not just any backups. You need to ensure that you have multiple backups of your data, and that these copies are protected from being infected by the same ransomware that may have infected your original data. Many current backup strategies fail to meet this test! 
  • If you have laptops that leave the office, ensure that the data contained there is encrypted. In our experience, many users are unaware that this should happen. Compromises can and have happened due to this oversight! 
  • Train your users on how to identify cyber risks. Things like phishing emails, malicious downloads and other threats target individual end users. Once a cybercriminal has a “nibble”, they can infect a single computer. Often that is all that is needed to then infect an entire network. And, at times, attackers will drop malicious software onto an unsuspecting user without any visible impact. In other words, you may already be infected and the cybercriminal is just waiting for the right time to launch their attack! 

If you would like to know more about how to deal with a potential cyber breach, see last months blog post here – You’ve been Breached, 6 Steps to Deal With It.

At Bralin Technology Solutions, we take cybersecurity seriously. We invest in new tools and technologies that not only protect against threats, but also warn when any suspicious activity happens on any of the systems we manage. Additionally, we invest in training our staff to be aware of emerging dangers, and we extend this training to clients as well.  

We are happy to have a discussion on whether our services make sense for you and your organization. Contact us.  

As always, wishing you a secure future! 
Brad Kowerchuk, CEO  

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