The city wrote in a notice on Twitter that all city information technology systems were shut down as a result of the cyberattack, including the municipal webpage www.saintjohn.ca, online payment systems, and customer service applications.
The government of Saint John did not say who was behind the cyberattack.
“We do not yet know whether personal information stored on our networks has been compromised. As a precaution, we recommend that users of our systems regularly check their bank accounts and credit cards for suspicious activity,” said the notice.
The public can still dial the city’s customer service number 658-4455, but the calls will be addressed with priority.
The 911 communication centre remains in operation and is ready to respond to any emergencies.
The city is working with federal and provincial governments to “contain and eradicate the virus and restore our systems.” No specific timeline for full recovery is provided.
Until the IT system is fully restored, the city will not accept payments for any services, including water bills and parking tickets.
Citizens are asked to turn to the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for further updates.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which is known for managing Canada’s .ca internet domain, said organizations have reported a spike in the number of cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. In its “2020 Cybersecurity Report” released in October, CIRA said as more IT workers are working from home where the Wi-Fi networks are generally less secure than corporate networks, workers and agencies become more vulnerable to cyberattacks.