Sask. liquor stores can once again order stock weeks after liquor authority hack

·2 min read
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority announced on Monday that the more than 600 retailers it supplies are now able to order from a full catalogue of products — but not through the online store.  (Neil Cochrane/CBC - image credit)
The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority announced on Monday that the more than 600 retailers it supplies are now able to order from a full catalogue of products — but not through the online store. (Neil Cochrane/CBC - image credit)

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) continues to investigate the cyberattack that prompted it to shut down its online services for three weeks, but liquor stores can now once again order from a full slate of stock.

The Crown corporation was struck by a cyber attack on Dec. 25, prompting it to shut down its online services and hire security experts to investigate.

The shutdown originally disallowed liquor stores from ordering stock, though they were able to order from a limited selection last week.

Now, SLGA says its Regina distribution centre has resumed full operations, allowing the approximately 600 retailers in the province to order all of the Crown's products.

Discount Liquor in Prince Albert was one of the affected retailers. Curtis Jezowski, inventory and ordering manager, said he hadn't even noticed the system was down for the first few days following the outage, because the store had stocked up for Christmas.

He said the store began running out of stock following Christmas and New Years. While Jezowski doesn't deal directly with customers, he was aware some were frustrated when looking for products that the store wasn't able to order.

"There's not really anything we can do about it. Nothing they could really do about it," Jezowski said. "Just took it in stride and did what I could."

Restoring online functionality

Jezowski said the online system remains offline, making ordering "difficult," but possible.

"We've been able to bring the majority of our systems back, there's still some functionality to be restored," said David Morris, spokesperson for SLGA.

Morris said the shutdown mostly affected access to wine and spirits, because beer is typically privately and directly distributed by breweries and larger manufacturers.

He said January is a quiet time for liquor stores.

"I think there certainly would be some impact and some inconvenience for retailers in the province, but I think for the most part stores would have been well-stocked heading into January as they loaded up before Christmas," Morris said.

Neil Cochrane/CBC
Neil Cochrane/CBC

While the investigation continues, SLGA does believe personal employee information may have been accessed. Morris wasn't certain when the investigation would be completed.

"SLGA is issuing a notification to current and former SLGA employees to provide credit monitoring to these individuals," a news release said. It specified that there was no indication that the personal information was being used.

"SLGA is not aware of any impact to client information and will continue to provide updates as appropriate."

In its news release, the SLGA said it is co-operating with law enforcement and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to resolve the issue.

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