More than 7,000 documents accessed after data breach of Nova Scotia government website

The Nova Scotia government was taken by surprise last week when it discovered that its Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) website had been breached.

In total, about 7,000 documents were accessed, 250 of which contained “highly sensitive material” according to a statement released by the government April 11. Government officials first became aware of the problem April 5 when a government employee noticed a problem with the website. The government shut down the website the same day, confirmed the website was breached the next, and by April 7, filed a complaint with police. Birth dates, social insurance numbers, addresses and government services client information were compromised. Credit card information was not.

Nova Scotia’s Privacy Commissioner, Catherine Tully, was informed of the breach earlier this week and will investigate the incident.

The CBC reported April 11 that the breach actually happened between March 3 and 4, and that Halifax police have arrested a 19-year-old Halifax man.

“We deeply regret that individuals’ information has been compromised,” said Patricia Arab, Internal Services Minister in a statement. “We welcome the commissioner’s full investigation of this incident.”

According to the Nova Scotia government, Internal Services and its cybersecurity team are working with the third-party service providers, Unisys and CSDC Systems, to get the website back up and running.

“Government’s next step will be to notify affected individuals after careful consideration to not compromise the police investigation,” the statement reads.
Anyone concerned about their personal information can call 902-424-3843 or email [email protected].

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