Town of Wasaga Beach Paid Hackers in Bitcoins; Total Bill $250K

Cyber attack cost the town a quarter of a million dollars to fix

A recent cyber attack that locked some physical and virtual servers belonging to the Town of Wasaga Beach cost $251,759 to unlock. Cyber criminals were after 11 bitcoins valued at $144,100 when they took control of 11 servers belonging to the town of Wasaga Beach seven weeks ago.

“Staff have learned the importance of actively managing corporate security risks in this day and age.”

The town managed to negotiate with the hackers. The town’s first counter started at 1.5 bitcoins and then the Town ended up paying 2 bitcoins for 3 servers – which the town says held enough information to restore their system to 85-90 per cent recovery. Treasurer and Director of Finance Jocelyn Lee told Council Tuesday they had to  buy back one more server so they ended up paying the hackers 3 bitcoins total, costing $34,950.

That was only a portion of the cost though. In Lee’s report to council she noted they have paid three different consultants $37,181 so far. That money is split between Compu-Solve, security specialists ISA Inc. and virus decryption specialists Hexigent.

Staff Productivity and efficiency losses top $88k

There were some other costs incurred as well along the way including $9,590 to third-party software vendors and internal staff overtime, valued at $31,370. After each department in the town reviewed productivity and efficiency losses they concluded the hit was around $88 thousand dollars. The total cost of the virus to date is $251,759.

Related: Hackers Breach Wasaga Beach Servers 

Another post-incident report coming out in August will assess what security measures the Town has in place at the time of the attack. Lee said it’s clear from these costs that this was an expensive occurrence for the Town and staff have learned the importance of actively managing corporate security risks in this day and age. Officials don’t believe personal data was taken, but the municipality says if it was – they will publish formal notices to residents.