By Barry Ellsworth
A cyberattack on the Ontario government and its transit system in Toronto by North Korea was detected and successfully disrupted, Canadian media reported Tuesday.
No personal information was accessed, and the attack did not succeed in disrupting Metrolinx schedules of trains and buses.
Metrolinx is a provincial agency that runs transportation services for Toronto – the fourth largest city in North America and capital of Ontario province – and nearby Hamilton.
Anne Marie Aikins, a spokesperson for Metrolinx, acknowledged that the attack happened recently but would not be more specific, citing security issues.
“The incident is over, but the investigation of it and the action that we take continues to ensure we continue to protect all of our systems,” Aikins said.
“It did not infiltrate any of our systems that protect trains and buses. Safety was not compromised.”
A subsequent investigation showed the malware attack originated in North Korea and was routed through Russia.
Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and now security advisor to the province, said the attack does not come as a surprise. North Korea, Russia and China are always looking to steal digital secrets from countries like Canada, he said.
“Are there situations where I think North Korea or other countries would have an interest in this jurisdiction?” Boisvert said. “I have few doubts.”