Days later, STM cyberattack still leaving some adapted transit users stranded
MONTREAL -- A week after the STM was the victim of an apparent cyberattack, many of its online services remain down.
Among the online services that remain unavailable is the booking system for the STM's paratransit network of wheelchair-accessible buses and taxis.
“It's not just another service, it's the ultimate service for handicapped persons,” said RAPLIQ director general Steven Laperierre. “We've had some members who have lost two days of work and others that have missed doctor's appointments or had to use alternatives that cost more money than the paratransit transport, so they would like to get some reimbursement.”
In a statement, the STM said paratransit employees are working to mitigate the impact of the cyberattack on users. Since Sunday, clients have been able to book a trip using the phone system.
The STM added there are no plans to compensate users.
“They say they will not reimburse because it's a force majeure. Okay, that's fine, but we're in 2020 now,” said Laperierre. “You ought to know these things can happen and you have to be better prepared. If the thing had last 12 to 24 hours, we would not be talking right now.”
Tuesday's attack caused a major outage for the STM that disrupted numerous services, including the website and telephone lines. Roughly 1,000 of the STM's 1,600 servers were affected, though about 50 per cent of those have been restored. On Tuesday, officials said the investigation into the attack was continuing but that it was still unknown how the ransomware attack originated or who was behind it.
The STM said no ransom demand was received. Bus and metro services were not affected by the attack.
Cybersecurity expert Steve Waterhouse said he believes hackers got into the STM system via an email fishing scam.
“How it came to be inside the STM tells me that there's a threat risk assessment that was not done taking into consideration these types of attacks,” he said.
Laperierre said the STM should have had a backup plan in place to ensure people with disabilities were not left behind.
“The STM has tried their best but sometimes your best is not enough,” he said. “This system is the ultimate service" for people with diabilities.
- With files from The Canadian Press