Local municipality fights ‘cyber security incident’ after flood of spam emails

Article content

Elgin County has hired outside consultant to help it recover from a “technical disruption” that’s downed its website and email system weeks after warning a “cyber security incident” had targeted the local government, The Free Press has learned.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The London-area local government’s website was down Friday as its information technology department and a third-party expert worked through the system-wide issue, the county’s top administrator said.

“We’re still determining the root cause,” chief administrator Julie Gonyou wrote in an online message exchange on Friday. “The website and external incoming/outgoing email are down while we assess the root cause of the technical disruption and work to resolve a number of technical issues.”

The website and email outage comes two weeks after Gonyou, in an internal memo to county staff reviewed by The Free Press, warned that officials were dealing with a “cyber security incident” and had brought in a consultant to help fix it.

Advertisement 3

Article content

In the memo emailed on March 31, Gonyou wrote county officials were concerned by a large amount of spam emails sent to Elgin County staff. Many of the emails contained malicious attachments or links and were sent from emails doctored to look like they were legitimate senders, Gonyou’s email noted.

The memo stated county officials were watching closely for any potential data breaches and warned it was possible the volume of spam emails could become unmanageable, forcing a temporary shutdown of the email system.

Elgin has cyber security insurance and is working with an adjuster for its insurance company, which has offered “resources and supports,” the internal email noted.

The cyber disruption is being felt across multiple Elgin County departments.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Officials with the…