Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

First, someone using a government of Nunavut computer clicked on a link they shouldn’t have.

Next, there was a message saying: “If you want your data back, then please contact us this way.”

Then, at about 4 a.m. Saturday, the government’s entire computer system went dark. The ransomware attack encrypted individual files on various servers and workstations, and locked out regular users.

Story continues below advertisement

It remained dark as of Monday, with no prospect of immediate resurrection.

“We don’t have access to any computers right now,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq.

Government offices remained open, but were forced to operate in a way not seen in years.

“People are filling out a lot of paper forms,” said Dean Wells, the territory’s chief information officer.

Fax machines, long silent, were chattering again. People were picking up the telephone instead of sending emails.

“It’s going back quite a few years,” Savikataaq said. “We have no ability to make payments. If worse comes to worst, we’ll be writing manual cheques.”

Wells said there was no problem with the territory’s cyber security. It had recently been updated and upgraded. It withstands thousands of attacks daily, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was not like it was neglected. We were well prepared.”

An investigation is trying to figure out how the attack was able to infiltrate Nunavut’s system so completely and do so much damage.

Meanwhile, Nunavummiut are being warned that services will take longer than normal. Those attending medical appointments have been asked to bring their health cards and any medication they’re taking.

The government had contingency plans and they are working well, Savikataaq said.

Restoring electronic data services for health, family services, education, justice and finance will take top priority, he said.

Wells said the databanks are being rebuilt from backup files.

Story continues below advertisement

Personal information doesn’t appear to have been leaked in the attack, the territory said. Rather than distributing private data, ransomware attacks prevent users from getting their information and demand a ransom to restore access.

Wells said no payment will be made.

“People are working around the clock,” said Savikataaq. “It’s not business as usual, but we’re still functioning with near-normal capacity.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies