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Cyber attack exposes banking information of thousands of Albertans


Records of more than 1.4 million Albertans were the target of a cyber attack on a government service provider last month, the Alberta Dental Services Corporation said this week.

"We're disappointed," said Lyle Best, president of the ADSC and chairman of QuikCard Solutions Inc., in an interview with CTV News on Friday.

"We really value the information of Albertans and we try our best to keep it private."

On Thursday, the Edmonton-based company that provides IT infrastructure to the government program announced personal information was illegally accessed by a third party.

The data breach, which took place on July 26, included information relating to clients, cardholders, brokers and health benefit providers.

The firm says it "took immediate action" to secure its network once the breach was discovered.

"Quikcard engaged leading cybersecurity experts to assist with containment, remediation and to conduct a comprehensive forensic investigation into the nature and exent of the incident," the company said in a statement.

"Fortunately, Quikcard was able to recover the affected systems and data from backups with only minimal data loss."

That recovery involved paying a cryptocurrency ransom to the hackers, who had encrypted the data they stole.

Best said the information of more than one million Albertans was accessed, but only a small portion of those records contained information that would be useful to hackers.

"They really got no usable information other than a name and an identification number," he said.

About 7,300 ADSC clients had submitted more personal information into the database.

"There's no indication that these bad actors did anything with the data, but we could see they were looking for it," Best said.

Quikcard says the incident has been reported to police.

"Quikcard has also implemented enhanced safeguards to better prevent against an incident of this nature from occurring in the future," it wrote.

While the breach is a great concern, Best says the critical services for Albertans were not impacted.

"Going forward, we've been working with forensics and trying to figure out exactly how this happened. Early indications suggest it came from an email – a phishing email."

Best said "it's a wake up call" for all Canadian companies.

"If you do work on a network, you're vulnerable."

Quikcard says it has compiled a list of all affected clients and will be notifying those individuals and organizations about the breach as well as providing them with information on how to safeguard their personal information.

A website has also been set up for clients who have additional questions about the breach. Top Stories

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