Newfoundland and Labrador cyberattack costs nearly $16 million, health minister says

New details are emerging about the cost of last fall’s cyberattack – considered one of the most serious breaches of its kind in Canadian history – to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We had cyberattack-related expenses that are just under $16 million,” Health Minister John Haggie told a legislative committee late Monday.

“They have been transmitted to the health authorities and to the [Newfoundland and Labrador] Health Information Center.”

Haggie was responding to a question from Tory MHA Paul Dinn, who asked about transfers to the Department of Health from a government provident fund.

Less than a month ago, Haggie told reporters at a provincial budget briefing that he didn’t have that figure.

“I can’t tell you what the cost was for the last year,” the minister said April 7.

“The best place to look for that would probably be the public accounts, because that would be the consolidated account [expenses].”

Public accounts are generally not published until October, or later.

CBC News asked department officials for a breakdown of how the $16 million referenced by Haggie was spent.

The province acknowledged a $5 million expense for credit monitoring services for those affected by the breach.

The Canadian Press recently reported that the government shelled out $200,000 in public relations advice related to the cyberattack.

Government officials have been tight-lipped about most aspects of the cyberattack, which threw the healthcare system into chaos from late October to November.

An expert called the attack the worst in Canadian history.

The province will not say who was responsible, whether it was a ransomware attack or whether a ransom was paid.

Officials cited security concerns for this lack of disclosure.

Haggie told reporters last month that an additional $3.8 million had been allocated for next year to bolster security systems.

In late March, officials said more than 200,000 files had been extracted from an Eastern Health network drive that may contain patient and employee information dating back to 1996.

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