Attackers say they have deleted data stolen from Ontario school board

A northern Ontario Catholic school district says crooks who stole data in December claim they have since deleted the information from their storage.

In a statement this week, the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board said the unnamed attackers stole “a significant number of files from a board file server.”

“They have informed us that they have since deleted the files, and we believe the risk of
misuse is low, but we, nonetheless, are going to analyze the files that were stolen and determine who to notify.  Given the number of files, this will take some time, possibly months.”

According to the news site SooToday — which covers the Sault Ste. Marie area — the board was hit with the Royal strain of ransomware.

Stolen was information held on employees dating back to 2019, including social insurance numbers, date of birth information, compensation information, banking information, and (if applicable) garnishment information.  Affected employees will receive a notification letter within the next two weeks.

They will be offered two years of free credit monitoring service – a service that allows one to check for signs of identity fraud so protective action can be taken.

It isn’t clear why the attackers disposed of what they stole. The news site Elliot Lake Today says the board isn’t saying if it paid a ransom.

Some ransomware gangs have self-imposed policies forbidding attacks on certain organizations. The LockBit ransomware gang, for example, forbids affiliates from attacking critical infrastructure providers. Under its limits, affiliates can only attack for-profit schools and school boards. The rules allow affiliates to steal data from hospitals but forbid hospital data from being encrypted.

After Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was hit with the LockBit ransomware, a gang leader apologized, blaming an affiliate for violating its rules.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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