Tag Archive for: Toronto

Toronto feared 35,000 citizens’ data would be made public after cyberattack: documents

The City of Toronto expected metadata concerning some 35,000 citizens to be posted on an online forum run by Eastern European cybercriminals after a data breach earlier this year — but ended up escaping the worst, new documents obtained by CTV News Toronto show.

Some six months after an internal city agency sounded the alarm in confidential documents, the information has yet to be shared publicly and the city says it never received a ransom request, leading some cybersecurity experts to wonder if the city escaped what has been described as a massive spree of cyberattacks. 

“It looks like they failed. The silence is somewhat deafening,” said cybersecurity expert Claudiu Popa. “Maybe the attacker failed to get what they wanted and didn’t have the leverage to extort this particular victim.”

The attack on Toronto was one among thousands of remote, sometimes automated attacks seeking to get data, and then threaten to expose it or destroy it unless handsome sums are paid, often in digital currency.

Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner says cybercriminals are increasingly targeting public agencies, warning breaches are up 151 per cent in 2021 — with 39 public institutions attacked this year in Ontario.

“Hackers are taking advantage of the current public health crisis, and cybersecurity incidents are on the rise,” a spokesperson for the agency said.

The City of Toronto threat assessment, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, describes the attack in January of 2021 as happening through a “zero day” weakness in the city’s Accellion file transfer system.

Hackers known as “CLOP” discovered the weakness in the file transfer system at that time and used it to exploit a large number of organizations, including the Region of Durham.

CTV News Toronto has already shown that those attackers gained and then posted health and schooling data of tens of thousands of individuals, as well as a video of the arrest of a young man by Toronto police on a Durham Region transit bus.

The document appears to link the Toronto attack for the first time publicly to CLOP, which is believed to be a network operating out of…


Toronto Transit Commission still recovering from ransomware attack

IT staff at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) were still dealing with the effects of a ransomware attack on Saturday afternoon, approximately 40 hours after suspicious network activity was detected.

Asked if the TTC has determined how the attack started, and identified the strain of ransomware involved, Shabnum Durrani, head of corporate communications said, “We are still looking into the situation.”

She stressed that the impact on the bus and subway service of the nation’s biggest transit system so far has been minimal, although its Vision communications system used to communicate with drivers, has been knocked offline. Operators have been forced to communicate with Transit Control with radios.

In addition, those needing to use the Wheel Trans van service for transit can’t book online. Instead they have to phone to reserve pickup.

Also offline is the TTC ‘next vehicle’ information service, which displays when the next bus or subway train will arrive on platforms and on trip planning apps.

The TTC’s internal email service is also offline. Durrani couldn’t say if the attackers were able to copy emails of employees, nor could she said if any corporate data was copied. These issues are still being investigated, she said.

Durrani also wouldn’t say if the TTC has been in contact with the attackers. “I cannot comment on that at this time,” she said.

When asked if the TTC has brought in more IT resources to help investigate and restore service, she said the commission is working with other partners, and on the question of whether the Ontario government has been asked for help, she responded that “all levels of government are aware of the situation. We are working with the Toronto Police.”

She added, “The TTC has business continuity plans in place, but as you know, cyber attacks are evolving very quickly.”

Not the first attack on a transit system

A number of transit systems have been impacted by ransomware in recent years, noted Brett Callow, a British Columbia-based threat analyst for Emsisoft. These include British Columbia’s TransLink which was hit with a $7.5 demand late last year.

In 2016 San Francisco’s transit system was hit by ransomware,…


TTC says investigation underway amid ransomware attack – Toronto

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) says an investigation is underway amid a ransomware attack that has impacted some services and systems.

The TTC said in a statement that staff learned the transit agency was the victim of a ransomware attack on Friday.

The statement said IT staff first detected “unusual network activity” Thursday night and began investigating.

“Impact was minimal until midday today (Friday) when hackers broadened their strike on network servers,” the statement said.

Due to the attack, online Wheel-Trans bookings are unavailable, as is next vehicle information on platform screens, apps and on the TTC website.

Read more:
TTC says service reductions expected when COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect

The TTC said its internal email service is offline and the agency’s “Vision system,” which is used to communicate with vehicle operators, is also not available. Operators are still able to communicate with transit control by radio, however.

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The TTC said it has also cancelled a Saturday subway closure on Line 1 between St. Clair and College stations which was going to be used to complete track work.

“This incident did not cause significant service disruptions and there is no risk to employee or customer safety,” the statement said.

“The full extent of the attack is being looked into and the TTC is working with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts on this matter. The City of Toronto’s IT Services department has also been consulted.”

Click to play video: 'TTC cuts service amid unvaccinated operators'

TTC cuts service amid unvaccinated operators

TTC cuts service amid unvaccinated operators

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