Municipal services

Some city services unavailable as Whistler continues to face cyber attack

City officials in Whistler, B.C. are keeping their low profile as they grapple with a nearly three-week-old cyberattack that has forced municipal emails and voicemail shutdowns and rendered a number of city services unavailable.

Few details of what is called a “cybersecurity incident” have been released.

A spokesperson for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) said Thursday they could not comment on specific details as the municipality is in the midst of an investigation. In late Thursday afternoon, the municipality said there was no evidence that public information had been compromised.

On its website, RMOW said it restricted access to all of its servers on April 27 after noticing suspicious activity. News of the cyberattack was made public the next day.

According to the municipality, water, sewer and emergency systems such as 911 and the Whistler Fire Department are functioning normally, as are the Whistler Public Library and Meadow Park Sports Center.

In a press release dated May 11, the municipality said that an ongoing forensic investigation was trying to determine “the nature of any information that may have been illegally accessed.”

He said if the investigation reveals that personal information has been stolen, the RMOW will contact those affected.

Louise MacDougall, project manager for Whistler-based MacDougall Construction, said the fallout from the cyber attack is affecting her business.

“Just the unknown turnaround time to receive a permit and be able to schedule the start of a project,” she said.

“I set up two different projects last Friday and I know they’re working hard to handle all the paperwork. But right now they’re not really telling us how much we’re going to be delayed.”

CBC and Radio Canada requests to speak to a municipal representative were denied.

In a statement, Virginia Cullen, executive director of RMOW, said the safety and security of RMOW’s systems was the top priority.

“It is a laborious and lengthy process to ensure that our systems are fully secure before bringing them back online,” she said.

“We are working with cybersecurity experts to further strengthen our security safeguards in the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape,” she said.

About 14,000 people live in Whistler, according to Statistics Canada. The city receives three million visitors per year during pandemic-free years.

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