Ransomware freezes govt IT in Canadian territory of Nunavut, drops citizens right Inuit

As US picks up its game, scumbags seek new targets

A malware infection has crippled the IT operations in the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut.

An alert from the provincial government on Monday says that "all government services requiring access to electronic information" are being impacted by what they describe as a "new and sophisticated" infection.

"Essential services will not be impacted and the [government of Nunavik] will continue to operate while we work through this issue," Premier Joe Savikataaq said. "There will likely be some delays as we get back online, and I thank everyone for their patience and understanding."

Fully recovering from the infection could be tricky for Nunavut, a remote area that covers much of the northernmost portions of Canada. The territory covers an area of more than 1.9 million square kilometers, but has a population of around 36,000 people.

While the government did not say exactly which infection had crippled its IT infrastructure, a CBC report showed a copy of a ransom note that appears to be identical to that of the Dridex malware's DoppelPaymer ransomware module.

The infection could also be a sign of a larger trend from ransomware operators towards targeting smaller countries and governments.

Funzela Ngobeni, a Johannesburg city councillor

City of Joburg says it knows who ransom hack attacker is, refuses to pay off criminals


According to Emsisoft, an AV biz that has been tracking attacks on US state and local governments, reported ransomware outbreaks stateside have been falling over the last few months, from a high point of 44 in July to 24 in each of August and September to 16 incidents in October.

The theory is that, as municipal and state governments in the US wise up and improve their security, hackers have opted to go international in search of softer targets.

"US entities are on very high alert, bolstering their IT and so are less likely to be comprised," the security biz said in a note to The Register.

"Because of this, big game hunters are increasingly looking for opportunities in the other countries."

Meanwhile, Nunavut has some company in Spanish media company Cadena SER, who this week was revealed by Spain's National Security Department to be one of a group of local companies to fall victim to a ransomware outbreak in that region. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • AMD claims its GPUs beat Nvidia on performance per dollar
    * Terms, conditions, hardware specs and software may vary – a lot

    As a slowdown in PC sales brings down prices for graphics cards, AMD is hoping to win over the market's remaining buyers with a bold, new claim that its latest Radeon cards provide better performance for the dollar than Nvidia's most recent GeForce cards.

    In an image tweeted Monday by AMD's top gaming executive, the chip designer claims its lineup of Radeon RX 6000 cards provide better performance per dollar than competing ones from Nvidia, with all but two of the ten cards listed offering advantages in the double-digit percentages. AMD also claims to provide better performance for the power required by each card in all but two of the cards.

    Continue reading
  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022