Virus attacks District of Clearwater

No data taken, says chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx, after virus uses fake resume to enter system last February

District of Clearwater is moving forward the replacement of its computers and hiring a new information technology services company after the municipality’s computer network became infected with a virus.

According to a report from director of finance Wes Renaud to town council’s finance and audit committee, the District’s network was infected by the virus in February, 2015.

The virus is a ransom-ware trojan that targets computers running Microsoft Windows.

Once the computer becomes infected, the virus displays a message offering to have itself removed if a ransom is paid.

As a result of the District’s computers becoming infected, BDO, the District’s auditors, stated in a letter, “The virus exposed certain vulnerabilities in the IT (information technology) system and consulting, including that backups were not being adequately maintained and tested. Furthermore, the District’s IT consultant recommended that the District engage with the perpetrator of the virus, which introduces further risk to the District.”

Most of District of Clearwater’s computers are sluggish, a varied in makes and models, and are well beyond their warranty period, Renaud noted in his report.

Computers in satellite locations, such as the firehall, Sportsplex and former District office, are not on the same network.

Sea to Sky Network Solutions, IT consultants hired following the virus attack, recommended that a redundant server be set up that would back up all dat on the main server every hour and store the data at an offsite location in Vancouver.

Other recommendations included a new Dell main server with a five-year warranty, new Dell workstations also with five-year warranties, and new network equipment (including firewalls and wireless equipment for the office).

During its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, town council approved awarding a $65,000 IT service contract to Sea to Sky of Vancouver.