Ransomware extortionists threaten to sell personal information of Whistler "people" on the dark web

It's the latest escalation in a cyberattack that has hobbled the local government

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      Cybercriminals have ramped up their threats against the municipal government in Whistler.

      After hacking into the Resort Municipality of Whistler's network on April 28, they've threatened to sell what they've retrieved. This will allegedly occur in an online auction over the next seven days.

      They've also claimed to have obtained 800 gigabytes of archived materials.

      This is what the message states: "Whistler people personal information (names, addresses) sql databases, stats, huge emails database, passwords, network scheme, services, private documents placed on darknet auction." 

      Whistler Municipal Hall is closed to in-person service as police investigate a ransomware attack.

      Meanwhile, the Resort Municipality of Whistler has advised the public "to take extra care to monitor for any unusual  activities such as phone calls, emails and online activity".

      “I appreciate that this is having a large impact on our community already challenged by COVID-19, as well as Whistler property owners and those who have accessed RMOW services in the past,” chief administrative officer Virginia Cullen said in a news release. “Although we have robust protections in place to prevent this type of illegal event, these cyber criminals breached our server. As soon as we were aware of this, we took measures to prevent further access, and are now in the process of working with cybersecurity experts before we put the system back online.”

      The Whistler Fire Department and 9-1-1 services have been secured, the news release noted, as have water and sewage systems.

      Non-essential services have been temporarily suspended "because email, phone, network services and the website have been taken offline".

      In addition, in-person service has been temporarily halted at the municipal hall. And the next council meeting on Tuesday has been cancelled.

      The Resort Municipality of Whistler is one of many local governments that have been hit by these attacks in recent years. In addition, Simon Fraser University and TransLink have been targeted by cybercriminals.

      According to a recent report by Emisoft, which provides cybersecurity solutions to its clients, about US$18 billion in ransom was demanded last year around the world in connection with these types of attacks.

      The report noted that the economic damage from these incidents added up to the hundreds of billions of dollars.