by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Premier of Nevis – Hon. Mark Brantley confirmed an unprecedented cyber attack on the Nevis Island Administration.
During the Wednesday, February 1 edition of ‘On The Mark,’ Brantley said this is the first time the NIA has encountered such a situation.
“The Nevis Island Administration has been the unfortunate victim of a cyber attack, and it is the first time that we are aware that this has happened, but we have had what is referred to as ransom, where individuals hack our system, seek to control it and then demand ransom in order to give us back our data.”
Brantley disclosed that a team of officials are working on behalf of the Government to address the situation, and following a meeting with the Cabinet, it was revealed that despite valiant efforts to restore the system, some data would not be recovered.
“We are hopeful that through our outreach through these technical persons and others, that we have found some solutions, and we will slowly be restoring, as best as we can, the system that has been compromised. It does appear, based on the advise that we have taken and the report comprehensively presented to the Cabinet today, that we will lose some data; that does appear to be unavoidable, but we have been advised that the technicians that we have, the experts that we have available to us, that they have been responding admirably, that we are hopeful that slowly, our systems will be brought back online. Slowly, our emails and all of those functions will be brought back online, and in the interim, while we have had some disruption to Government Services, I am asking for the patience of the public; the patience also of our public servants, many of whom now are unable to send or receive emails.”
In a conversation with a WINN FM reporter on Friday morning, February 3, 2023, Premier Brantley disclosed that the indication of the cyber attack was noticed a week ago, Friday, January 27, 2023, but the extent of the attack unfolded with further investigations. He said the Government services were vastly impacted. “For example, the Water Department had challenges with its billing system,” the Premier stated.
Brantley further mentioned that although the attack did not directly impact some departments, those systems were taken offline to prevent further challenges.
The team of officials includes Hon Troy Liburd, who is leading the charge as the Minister responsible for Information and Communication Technology, as well as Mr Craig David, a computer expert and head of the IT Department. Quincy Prentice, Head of the IT Department at the
St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank and Dion Herbert, an IT professional with Microsoft are also instrumental in the efforts to reclaim the NIA’s system.
Meanwhile, Brantley said there were no further ransom demands after the IT professionals began to address the situation. He, however, expects positive feedback when all systems are back online in the upcoming week.