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Investigation of ‘unprecedented’ cyberattack in the Yukon underway

Director of information security says incident of this scale hasn’t been seen before in the territory
The Yukon legislature is pictured on Sept. 18. An investigation into the recent cyberattack in the Yukon is underway. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The RCMP is investigating a recent cyber incident that hit some federal, provincial and territorial government websites and private sector organizations.

The cyberattack in the Yukon was “unprecedented” in terms of size and scope, according to an information security director with the territorial government. It remains unknown who was behind the distributed denial-of-service attack, also known as a DDoS attack, that took down the Yukon government website and public-facing websites starting around midnight on Sept. 14.

“These types of cyberattacks send abnormally high levels of traffic to our network to overwhelm our systems, but they do not try to access information,” reads a Yukon government update on Sept. 15.

“There is no evidence that this attack resulted in any unauthorized access to private citizen data, government systems or government files.”

In a Sept. 15 interview by phone, director Noah Gehmair said the Yukon government fairly routinely receives these types of attacks, but on a much smaller scale.

“The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has identified that there is likely a link between the denial-of-service attacks experienced by jurisdictions across Canada this week,” he said.

“We’ve taken some measures to mitigate the attack, and we’re unlikely to be impacted significantly by future similar attacks.”

In a Sept. 19 email from Highways and Public Works, communications manager Madison Guthrie said more information on the mitigation measures couldn’t be provided due to security reasons, but the efforts have been effective, and services have been restored.

“We spoke last week to get an update from each jurisdiction on their experiences with the current denial-of-service threats,” Guthrie wrote.

“We are continuing to work with the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, other impacted provinces/territories and the RCMP cybercrime division to investigate the source of the attack.”

In a Sept. 19 email, RCMP Sgt. Kim Chamberland said police can’t comment on the details of any active investigation.

“We are working very closely with those impacted, our provincial and territorial policing partners and our partners in the Government of Canada cybersecurity sector,” reads Chamberland’s email, noting that the RCMP remains committed to investigating cybercrimes.

READ MORE: Cyberattack hits Yukon government

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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