Anyone who works for or does business with the Municipal District of Opportunity in northern Alberta is being warned about a possible breach of their computer systems.
The MD noticed some unusual activity last Friday, and worked over the weekend to try and fix it. Administrators decided to shut down all systems on Monday to be safe.
“We really can’t say what’s happened, but we’ve taken the most prudent step which is to disconnect from the outside internet and so on, and have a good solid look at what the situation is so that we can get up and running as soon as possible,” says Deborah Juch, Manager of Legislative Services.
IT contractors have now been brought in, they’re working to find out what happened, and who may have been affected.
“Honestly, the big question is ‘what information, if any, in our databases was accessed by outside parties?” asked Juch. “That’s the question, and that’s our responsibility to determine and address.”
Vendors, account holders, ratepayers, utility account holders, and even former employees and council members are being informed about the possible breach, and a series of public ads are being released.
If everything goes smoothly, it should take about a week for the systems to be restored.
In the meantime, some quick work by the MD means that the 568 employees of the district who were expecting paychecks early Friday will be getting them late in the afternoon. Juch says ATB financial worked with them to inform other banks that this would be happening, so automatic payments would not go through and cause NSF charges for employees.
The MD of Opportunity encompasses communities such as Wabasca, Sandy Lake, Calling Lake, and Red Earth Creek. (kdr)