Lambton investigating major crash of server system

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Lambton County is still assessing the damage after the county’s main computer servers went down. But officials aren’t saying why the system crashed.

Lambton’s Solicitor, Stephane Thiffeault, tells The Independent the servers crashed last Friday morning. Employees were left without email communication and all departments across the system were having a hard time accessing information.

It took the IT people until Tuesday morning to bring email back on line. And he says, while it’s working, it is significantly slower than usual.

“We still have some server issues…meaning that some software application may be still impacted….As an example, email, it’s available at a certain speed, and that reduces as it is used,” he says. Some county employees, Thiffeault adds, still do not have access to their email accounts.

“No doubt about it, frustration levels are, are high. But with resumption of emails, to the degree that it has resumed, and it has resumed to quite a significant degree, that helps,” Thiffeault says. “When you’re so dependent on technology, and technology fails you, it gets quite frustrating in a hurry.”

Thiffeault adds staff have found many innovative – and sometimes old fashion – ways to communicate.

“The good old fashioned of walking down the hall and talking to your colleagues is certainly increased over the last over last week.

What caused the crash isn’t being released now. When asked if the county’s system had been hacked, Thiffeault said, “I have to maintain confidentiality as that investigation continues.

“We have an internal investigations trying to figure out what systems have been impacted…what we don’t know is how it happened. What really caused this to happen.”

In 2018, several Ontario municipalities were the victim of hacking including Wasaga Beach and Midland, prompting the OPP to issue a warning to them. In 2019, Stratford paid hackers $75,000 to end an attack and Woodstock shelled out $660,000 to the hackers.

Thiffeault says the costs of the ongoing issues because of the server crash still have to be calculated.

“There’s obviously been some overtime, but other than that, there has been no estimation, just yet of the dollars and cents.”