Whistler municipal government targeted by ransomware attack

According to Emisoft, which tracks these types of incidents, malware cost hundreds of billions of dollars worth of economic damage last year

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      A cyberattack has targeted the local government at Canada's highest-profile ski resort.

      The Resort Municipality of Whistler has stated on its website that it's temporarily suspended all online and some in-person services.

      Phone, network, and website access is all unavailable. And nobody can walk into municipal hall and receive service.

      The RCMP is working with the local government and cybersecurity experts to respond.

      "We apologize for this inconvenience and will provide an update when we are able to return those services," the Resort Municipality of Whistler stated.

      It's home to 12,000 residents and receives more than three million visitors each year.

      It's another blow to a community that has also had to deal with a large number of COVID-19 cases after the so-called Brazilian variant ripped through the town.

      That led Vancouver Coastal Health to offer vaccinations to everyone in the resort.

      According to the BleepingComputer.com website, a message during the cyberattack included a URL leading to a dark-web chat site. That's sometimes used by hackers to negotiate ransom payments.

      "This message indicates that RMOW's network has been encrypted and that unencrypted files were stolen during the attack, which has become common in ransomware attacks," BleepingComputer.com reported.

      Emisoft, a company that offers malware solutions, recently released a report showing that ransomware attacks caused hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage last year.

      "The average ransom demand grew by more than 80 percent," Emisoft stated. "Globally, a minimum of $18 billion was paid in ransoms, while the cost of downtime in the private and public sectors added billions more in costs."