Nova Scotia Government Reports $3.8 Million Cost from MOVEit Cybersecurity Breach

Nova Scotia Government Reports $3.8 Million Cost from MOVEit Cybersecurity Breach

Paige Henley Paige Henley
Published on: May 31, 2024

On the eve of the anniversary of a massive worldwide cybersecurity breach, the Nova Scotia government has disclosed that the response to the MOVEit hack has cost the province $3.8 million. The breach, which occurred on May 30 and 31, 2023, affected multiple organizations and millions of people globally.

The breach involved a file transfer service called MOVEit, made by Ipswitch, a company based in Burlington, Massachusetts. MOVEit is used by both private sector entities and governments, including Nova Scotia, to transfer files and data between employees, departments, and customers.

In a news release on Wednesday, Nova Scotia’s minister in charge of Cyber Security and Digital Solutions, Colton LeBlanc, discussed the province’s response to the breach. LeBlanc stated that the province has learned numerous lessons from the MOVEit breach and has made immediate changes to strengthen its cybersecurity defenses. “We made changes immediately, and we’ll continue to strengthen our defenses to keep Nova Scotians’ information as safe as we can,” LeBlanc said.

After being notified by Ipswitch of a critical vulnerability within the MOVEit system, the province took the service offline and issued over 168,000 notification letters to affected individuals. Security updates were installed, allowing the service to be brought back online. The Nova Scotia government is committed to further action on evolving cybersecurity issues.

“I’d love to be able to say we will never face another cybersecurity breach,” LeBlanc added. “Cyber threats are unfortunately a reality in the world we now live in. Everyone – governments, private companies and people – are all at risk. We must take steps to protect ourselves.”

An analysis of the breach confirmed that stolen files contained sensitive personal information, such as social insurance numbers and banking details for some employees. It was also confirmed that some members of the public had their personal health information compromised.

In June 2023, the cyber gang known as Clop, which claimed responsibility for the attack, stated that they deleted all stolen data from governments, cities, and police services but retained information from private companies.

Cybersecurity expert Scott Beck commented on the breach, emphasizing the importance of response. “How well you respond determines how bad the impacts will be,” Beck said. “While it’s important to try and prevent incidents from occurring, it’s even more important to detect when something doesn’t look right so you can respond quickly to minimize the impacts.” Beck noted that while the incident highlighted areas for improvement, Nova Scotia took appropriate steps in its aftermath.

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