Four and a half months after a data breach that could have included residents’ banking information, the City of Halton Hills is offering some residents a year of credit monitoring.
The letter, sent to residents, says the city “experienced a cybersecurity incident that resulted in unauthorized access to certain personal information stored on our network.”
The breach occurred on March 22. City staff noticed “indicators of compromise” on an internal server. It immediately responded by temporarily shutting down its online and telephone services and bringing in a consultant experienced in handling cybersecurity incidents. The city also notified Halton police and the RCMP.
The city issued a press release April 12, notifying residents of the attack, but said it was still investigating the incident to determine what information was affected.
The letter, posted August 11, states that “the affected servers contained personal information including your name, address and bank account number in relation to a property that you are listed as owning in Halton Hills…this may also include your email address, phone number and/or signature. »
When asked if this was tax roll information that was accessed, the city said it could not provide details for confidentiality reasons.
The city said not all residents were affected. He said letters had been sent to anyone with payment information on the affected server, but added that – again, for privacy reasons – the number of people affected could not be disclosed.
The city said the delay between the breach and sending the letters to residents was because “it took our external cybersecurity advisors working with city staff so long to sift through the vast amount of data on our server to determine which files might have had an impact. had payment information that could potentially be misused.
The city said it is not aware of any residents whose personal information has been misused.
The city said the cost associated with credit monitoring will depend on the number of residents signed up for the service. He said expenses related to the incident are being tracked and will be provided to council.
Although the city said it could not share information about the nature of the breach for security reasons, it is taking steps to prevent future attacks. It said it was “strategically rebuilding its system and implementing additional mitigations to thwart future attempts against its systems…and would continue to prioritize investments in cybersecurity.”
He said that even if he “had a robust cybersecurity program in place, it is not possible for an organization to guarantee that cybersecurity systems are 100% effective.”