N.L. cyberattack costs approach $16M, health minister says

·3 min read
Health Minister John Haggie told a legislative committee Monday evening that costs  related to last fall's cyberattack are nearly $16 million. (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)
Health Minister John Haggie told a legislative committee Monday evening that costs related to last fall's cyberattack are nearly $16 million. (Peter Cowan/CBC - image credit)

There are some new details emerging about how much last fall's cyberattack — considered one of the most serious breaches of its kind in Canadian history — has cost the Newfoundland and Labrador government.

"We have had expenditures related to the cyberattack which are just fractionally under $16 million," Health Minister John Haggie told a legislative committee Monday evening.

"They were flowed through to the health authorities and the [Newfoundland and Labrador] Centre for Health Information."

Haggie was responding to a question from Tory MHA Paul Dinn, who asked about transfers to the Health Department from a government contingency fund.

Less than a month ago, Haggie told reporters at a provincial budget briefing that he didn't have that number.

"I can't tell you what the cost for last year is," the minister said April 7.

"The best place to look for that probably would be public accounts, because that would be the consolidated [expenses]."

The public accounts generally aren't published until October, or later.

CBC News has asked officials in the department for a breakdown of how the $16 million referenced by Haggie was spent.

The province has acknowledged an outlay of $5 million on credit monitoring services for people affected by the breach.

The Canadian Press recently reported that the government forked out $200,000 on public-relations advice related to the cyberattack.

Government officials have been tight-lipped about most aspects of the cyberattack, which threw the health-care system into chaos from late October into November.

One expert called the attack the worst in Canadian history.

The province won't say who was responsible, whether it was a ransomware attack, or whether any ransom was paid.

Officials have cited security concerns for that dearth of disclosure.

Haggie told reporters last month that an extra $3.8 million extra has been allocated to bolster security systems.

In late March, officials said more than 200,000 files were taken from an Eastern Health network drive that might contain patient and employee information dating as far back as 1996.

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