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Bermuda continues to struggle from cyberattack

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Cabinet Office (File photograph)

Several days after a “major cyberattack” crippled the Bermuda Government’s IT and communications systems, uncertainty continued over the source, scale and nature of the hit to public services.

All government e-mail remained knocked out over the weekend, along with the main switchboard, and it was unclear when normal operations would be restored.

Details were not given on whether sensitive information had been compromised or payment demanded for the attack, which Acting Premier Walter Roban traced to 10pm on Wednesday.

David Burt was off the island from Thursday, with the Premier understood to have flown to Washington to attend an annual meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Mr Burt issued a statement online last night thanking staff working to remedy the attack, along with the banks who pitched in to get public officers paid.

Earlier, Mr Burt attributed the attack to external sources, likely within Russia.

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, subsequently cautioned against speculation on its origins.

Ms Lalgie said: “I can confirm that the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre and the National Crime Agency are aware of the incident, have been in contact with the Bermuda authorities, and are providing advice to support them.”

Other governments in the region were said to have been hit in the unprecedented attack, which Mr Roban said had struck “the very heart of public service”.

Although the main government website could be accessed last week, it appeared to be entirely offline today.

The latest government update listed working services, starting with the 911 emergency number.

Ministry of Health contact numbers update

Anyone trying to reach the Ministry of Health Accounts Section can contact 799-1523. To reach the office of the Chief Medical Officer, please call 7991522. Fax - 296-3283

The Ministry of Health Accounts will continue to accept cash and cheque payments for the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility and Lefroy House Care Community customers at the Ministry of Health headquarters.

Temporary phone list for the public to access Department of Health services.

Child Health Clinics, Travel, and Immunizations 332-8906

Maternal Health 332-8895

Communicable Disease Clinic 332-8881

Community Health and Adult Health Clinic 705-5946

Oral health 707-0292 or 705-8934

Nutrition Services 747-6468

Speech Language and Hearing Services 332-8922

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy services 333-7479

Environmental Health 531-9387

Child Care Regulation Programme 705-7309

Health Promotion and Wellness Office 300-6500

Sylvia Richardson Care Facility 505-8771

There was said to be “minimal impact” to schools and the Ministry of Education.

A back-up was in the works for the Government to take phone calls and e-mails on service disruptions.

Official messaging would use the Department of Communications and Bermuda Government social media portals.

Police, Customs and the Royal Bermuda Regiment were not disrupted.

The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service had to manually process paperwork, but there were no delays expected for responses, radios were still working, and dispatches as well as airport fire service continued.

The Department of Corrections was running, with its internal locking, radio and duress system still online.

The health insurance department was unable to collect premiums or new enrolments.

New enrolments for HIP and FutureCare were being accepted on paper, using forms from the department at Sofia House, 48 Church Street.

Cash or cheque was being used for premium payments. A confirmation of coverage letter would be issued for all new enrolments.

Premium payments for active HIP and FutureCare policies could be made at the department, using cash or cheque, but cash payments were not to be made using the Health Insurance Department’s drop box.

Online payments required a copy of bank confirmation.

A government spokeswoman said this morning: “For online banking transactions, please ensure that you enter your policy number on the comment line.”

Requests for personal home care, including assessments, would be dealt with “as expeditiously as possible”.

Completed applications could be faxed to 295-9213 or hand delivered to the Sofia House office

The Bermuda Health Council remained on in-person services.

The Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation online booking systems remained intact, with the front desk able to give paper receipts.

At the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, services were limited to cash and cheques.

The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo remained open.

The Department of Planning was unable to take new applications and continue inspections for construction.

Land valuation inspections were available for new buildings only.

The Post Office was delivering letter mail, and giving some of its customers packages with a promise and sign-off to pay later. MyBermudaPost website remained operational.

The Transport Control Department was limited to cash and issuing one-day permits, and straight vehicle relicensing of cars, bikes, trucks and taxis. TCD was able to take insurance details.

Private vehicles could still be relicensed online, but TCD could not confirm the date to produce the licence certificate to place in the window or the sticker for bike license plates. TCD was unable to print documents for online transactions.

TCD was manually processing driving, riding and vehicle exams and writing pass slips, but no picture cards could be processed.

The boats and moorings database was offline, with all services linked to payments suspended. Other Marine and Ports services were running.

The sale of ferry tokens and passes was unaffected with ferries on schedule.

Public transport was operating as normal. At the Central Terminal, the cashiers were completing sales with handwritten receipts.

Libraries were said to be running as normal, but the archives had just partial service, with no research available. There was no electronic service at the Records Centre.

Court Services staff were available to see clients and take calls on their mobile phones.

All Magistrates’ Court cases were proceeding, but the Supreme Court was to hear “limited matters” on a case-by-case basis.

Cashiers were still up, but are only processing payments manually, and there was limited processing of warrants.

Questions on the status of criminal trials were directed to witness care officers’ mobile phones.

The National Drug Control Treatment Centre was running

The Department of Legal Aid is dealing with clients who attend the office, with counsel still attending court.

Consumer Affairs and Rent Control were operating as normal.

The Public Works fuelling systems, weigh bridge system, Tynes Bay system and building security were running, with site inspection and manual oversight of existing projects to continue.

The Marsh Folly facility and garbage collection is operating normally.

The Premier will hold a press conference at the Cabinet Office today at 3pm.

• UPDATE: This article has been updated to include more information about making online payments to the Government’s Health Insurance Department.

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Published September 25, 2023 at 6:03 pm (Updated September 25, 2023 at 6:03 pm)

Bermuda continues to struggle from cyberattack

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