‘Cyber incident’ impacts Cowichan Valley School District systems, operations

'Cyber incident' impacts Cowichan Valley School District systems, operations
Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
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The Cowichan Valley School District (SD79) says there’s no reason to believe students’ or families’ personal information was compromised after a cyber incident impacted some of its systems and operations, including internet services.

According to SD79 in a statement, the incident also crashed the district’s website, sd79.bc.ca, which was still down as of 10:25 a.m. Wednesday.

“We are currently investigating and taking all steps possible to contain the incident,” SD79 said Tuesday. “At this time, we have no indication that the incident has impacted the personal information of our students and families.”

In the statement, which was addressed to school communities, it said it was working to restore its systems.

“We are working diligently, in conjunction with external experts, to investigate and contain the incident. We are committed to restoring normal operations as soon as possible, and will provide further updates as these efforts progress,” it said.

CHEK News reached out to SD79 Wednesday for an update.

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Cyber incidents have made headlines in B.C. in recent months.

Last month, retailer London Drugs confirmed it received a ransom demand for data stolen in an April cyberattack, which had resulted in the closure of all 80 of its stores.

Also in May, B.C.’s First Nations Health Authority said a ransomware gang attacked its corporate network, weeks after the province shared details about “sophisticated cybersecurity incidents” it had fallen victim to.

Pubic Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said 22 B.C. government email inboxes may have been accessed.

“We know that cyber attacks have been increasing not just here, but in fact, it’s a global issue, both in terms of governments and the private sector,” said Farnworth.

A cyber expert told CHEK News there could be several motivations for such attacks, including obtaining personal information.

“The data that’s really important for them is credit card information, personal information that can be re-sold. Oftentimes, it’s also used for extortion,” said Santosh Nair, chief technology officer at Styx Intelligence, in a previous interview.

READ ALSO: Hackers may have accessed 22 B.C. government inboxes, data on 19 employees: Farnworth

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