RCMP investigating after Manitoba child welfare agency says it was hit with ransomware cyberattack

In 2015, there were an average of 16,000 ransomware attacks in Canada every day. While security programs are a first line of defence, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Online security expert David Papp joined mike Sobel with some tips.

A Manitoba First Nations child welfare agency says they’re dealing with a cyberattack that has shut down their systems.

Jim Compton, a spokesperson for the Southern First Nations Network of Care, said their systems went down on Thursday morning.

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“The thrust of it is that we’ve been attacked by some ransomware,” Compton said.

“It’s a very sophisticated ransomware, according to our team … it’s encrypted to the point that it’s unusable.”

RCMP confirmed their Integrated Technological Crime Unit is looking into the case but didn’t provide any more information.

Compton says they do have their own investigation looking into the issue as well.

“We are also working on a contingency plan.”

He said the issue affects eight out of the 10 agencies they represent:

  • Animikii Ozoson Child & Family Services
  • Anishinaabe Child & Family Services
  • Dakota Ojibway Child & Family Services
  • Intertribal Child & Family Services
  • Peguis Child & Family Services
  • Sagkeeng Child & Family Services
  •  Southeast Child & Family Services
  •  West Region Child & Family Services

Compton says they don’t know if family documents have been impacted.

“Anything we deal with at a protection or service level would be on there.”

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Compton says he’s unaware if they have been given a message demanding money in exchange for their system to be back up and running.

There’s no timeline for when their system will be restored.

The province says it’s also offering technical support to restore and assist the organization.

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