Laval News | Ville de Laval’s online services disrupted by a suspicion of piracy


“We think we have avoided the worst”, declares the mayor Stéphane Boyer

A major interruption in public access to Ville de Laval’s online computer services was supposed to be resolved by last Sunday evening, but an assessment of the damage caused will be underway over the next few days.

Late last week, the city was asking residents who normally depend on web access to use the 3-1-1 telephone information option or visit one of the service counters in person from town.

damage “limited,” Boyer said

According to city spokespersons, technical teams immediately got to work trying to solve the problem and hoped to fix it early Monday morning when Laval city hall reopened.

Mayor Stephane Boyer told reporters at a hastily called press conference last Thursday that a “limited” amount of information was believed to have been stolen from city systems during the attack, though what exactly was taken remained unknown.

From left to right, Ville de Laval Director General Jacques Ulysse, Mayor Stéphane Boyer and Chief Technology Officer Guy Germain speak to reporters about the disruption of digital services during a webcast press conference last Friday.

The city’s computer experts realized something was wrong around 4 p.m. Wednesday last week. As a precaution against the possibility of hackers being at work, they immediately disconnected access to part of the incoming and outgoing Internet services.

Said Personal Information Vault

According to Mayor Boyer, the hackers likely entered the city’s computer systems through an infected email that could have been mistakenly opened by an employee. At the same time, he ensured that residents’ personal information was not compromised.

Initially, it is believed that the data taken probably consisted of a few photo files or a considerably larger number of files containing text – around 600 megabytes, which is considered a small amount of data. Ville de Laval’s in-house IT staff was supported by experts from global software maker Microsoft.

The worst has not happened: Boyer

“We believe we prevented the worst from happening, by preventing the hackers from doing more when we stopped them,” Boyer said, adding that it took several days for further analysis to reveal the full extent. damages.

“But at the moment the indicators suggest the outlook is positive, which means our databases appear to be unaffected and appear to be doing well,” he continued. “So it looks like we acted pretty quickly to avoid the worst.”

Mayor Boyer assured residents’ personal information was not compromised

Meanwhile, some of the major fallout from the shutdown of IT services has been felt by the city administration itself, which has been unable to process online payments. And, among other things, access to the city’s online property assessment roll was also temporarily closed late last week.

Payment systems impacted

“I can tell you that despite the inconvenience caused by the situation, today most of the City’s services have been cleared to our great satisfaction,” said City Manager Jacques Ulysse. He said the police, fire and public works computer systems, as well as the public library, were all operational.

However, he acknowledged that the city’s payment systems were still a source of problems and, for this reason, access to them was closed last week. As a result, transactions were done manually or were postponed to a later date.

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