The District of West Vancouver says it appears no one's personal information was stolen when computer hackers breached the district's servers last month.
West Vancouver staff shut down the server they use to operate MyDistrict - the service which allows residents to pay bills and set up preauthorized payments for taxes and utilities - after learning that other municipalities using the same software had been hacked.
In the wake of the breach, the district hired an Internet security expert to audit the server and produce a report.
"While the report found no evidence that our residents' information was compromised, we are taking action. Recommendations from the report have already begun to be implemented," said acting chief administrative officer Nina Leemhuis in a press release. "The security of residents' information is of the utmost priority for us."
Those recommendations include replacing the server and software with more secure versions and to embark on an ongoing system of checks on the system's vulnerability.
A hacker based somewhere in Europe, according to his or her Internet protocol address, gained access to the server through a weak spot in the Adobe ColdFusion software which is the base of the MyDistrict service.
"It is possible that the hackers were looking to access personal information through ColdFusion so that they could spam people, or gather personal information including banking information, however we don't know that for certain," said Jeff McDonald, district spokesman.
The consultant performed a number of scans on the server to look in detail at irregularities that show up in the code.
"This type of system scanning is usually conducted to gather information about a system to assist with ways to break into the system. The investigation has revealed several attempts to upload various files to the server. These attempts were unsuccessful. The nature of the files themselves is unknown."
Other municipalities that were targeted in July, including the District of Maple Ridge, carried out online security audits and have found similar results.
This is the only time the district has had a major security breach, McDonald said. He said West Vancouver police have been kept in the loop.
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