Getting a virus on your own personal computer is a situation that can induce a lot of anxiety. You never know just how much of your personal information might end up in the wrong hands. In Nunavut, this scenario took place across the territory's government computer system. The Nunavut ransomware attack left services slowed to a crawl.
According to a release from the Nunavut government, the cyberattack took place on November 2 and targeted various files on individual computers and servers. The ransomware then encrypted those files so that no one could access them.
As a result, any government services that require access to electronic information have been impacted.
Nunavut residents have had a lot to deal with, including encroaching polar bears that necessitated indoor Halloween celebrations in one community.
However, they did just elect one of the youngest MPs ever in the recent Canadian federal election.
"I want to assure Nunavummiut that we are working non-stop to resolve this issue," Premier Joe Savikataaq said in the release. "Essential services will not be impacted and the GN will continue to operate while we work through this issue."
Savikataaq did note, however, that people should expect delays until the system is brought back online.
1/2 The GN IT system was hacked early this morning, by a virus that has targeted public services. We’re working aro… https://t.co/pCSbM0ye0U— Premier Joe Savikataaq (@Premier Joe Savikataaq) 1572726429.0
CBC News was shown a sample of the ransom note that came up whenever someone tried to get onto the encrypted files. The note lets the user know that the information has been encrypted, and that they need to purchase exclusive decryption software to open them up again.
Of course, that decryption software comes at a price, and as the note says, "The faster you get in contact — the lower price you can expect."
According to EnigmaSoft, this type of ransomware is not uncommon, and often comes in the form of spam emails, infected attachments, or software downloaded from untrustworthy sources.
The Nunavut government has assured residents of the territory that no personal information appears to have been leaked due to the ransomware.
They have also stated that they are working with cybersecurity experts and their ISPs in order to get everything back online without having to give in to the demands of the hackers. The priorities are "health, family services, education, justice, and finance."
As advanced as electronics have become, they are still susceptible to viruses. A specific type of malware has been targeting Android phones and is almost impossible to delete.