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‘No malicious action’ behind extensive GNWT internet outage

Last modified: January 11, 2021 at 2:36pm


The NWT government says there is no suggestion any form of attack is behind a lengthy disruption to its websites and internet access on Monday.

Many territorial government employees have been wrestling with a lack of internet and disruption to email for hours.

NWT government websites, including key destinations like the territory’s Covid-19 information pages, have been down since mid-morning. Each reports a network error and asks users to return later.

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By email shortly after 2pm, a Department of Finance spokesperson said they could confirm “the issue was not caused by a cyber-attack or any other malicious action.”

Questions about the nature of the problem and its likely duration were passed to the Department of Infrastructure, which was understood to be preparing comment.

Last year, the NWT Power Corporation’s network was breached by a ransomware attack that disrupted employees’ ability to work for weeks, forced the temporary manual operation of a power plant in Inuvik, and hampered customers’ ability to receive and pay bills.

A Cabin Radio access to information request last month revealed the power corporation – which is ultimately owned by the territorial government – still does not know with certainty how the ransomware initially got into its systems.

The power corporation said in December it believed actions taken since the attack meant it would be significantly less vulnerable to a future repeat, despite gaps in its knowledge of how the attack occurred.

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