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Suspected cyberattack hits NWT among other governments

Government of the Northwest Territories offices in downtown Yellowknife
Government of the Northwest Territories offices in downtown Yellowknife. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

A window for NWT evacuees to book flights home from Alberta has been extended by a day, at least partly in response to a suspected cyberattack.

The GNWT’s website was not available for parts of Thursday, in keeping with the websites of governments in Yukon, Nunavut, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan.

The Yukon has acknowledged being targeted by a cyberattack. The NWT government has yet to make a public statement on the matter, other than noting at an afternoon press conference that its website was back online at the time, but multiple territorial officials with knowledge of the incident told Cabin Radio a cyberattack was suspected.

To what extent the attacks have compromised systems at the governments was not immediately clear, nor the extent to which the attacks were linked. Yukon’s government told staff no residents’ data or government systems and files were believed to have been affected, beyond disruption to website access.

Officials in Yukon and PEI said attackers used a method of flooding websites called a denial-of-service attack, causing the sites to become unresponsive. A day earlier, the Quebec government suffered a similar attack alleged by one minister to have been perpetrated by pro-Russian hackers NoName.



The NWT government’s decision to extend registration for evacuee flights home by a day is understood to have been triggered by residents’ inability to access the territory’s website for parts of Thursday.

South Slave evacuees trying to book flights home to Hay River or Fort Smith from Alberta now have until 5pm on Friday to do so.

On Facebook, the GNWT urged residents trying to register to call a phone number – 1-888-383-6649 – until 10pm on Thursday or from 8am till 5pm on Friday. When Cabin Radio tried to access the webpage for flight registration on Thursday evening, it loaded normally.

The NWT government’s Department of Finance, which is responsible for the territory’s information technology, has been approached for comment.