Taylor buys $20,000 website upgrade after cyber attack

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Tom Summer Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism. Tom Summer works under the Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John. The content that is produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

The District of Taylor will be beefing up its website and bringing it out of the digital dark ages with a $20,000 redesign after falling victim to a cyberattack last month.

The May 13 link-jacking cyberattack infected the district’s website by hosting an overlay that redirected users to malware and scam sites. The Lone Wolf golf course website was also infected.

“It’s very old, very outdated. The coding language is outdated; it’s quite susceptible. Unfortunately, we were a victim of that,” said Community Services Manager Paula Calla.

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The websites are currently ‘band-aided’ until a permanent solution is put in place.

“At this point they haven’t been able to get any personal information off of anyone’s computer,” said Calla, noting that link-jacking is the sole issue.

Alpha Strategy has been contracted to redesign and upgrade both the district and Lone Wolf websites. The district has known about its digital weak point for some time, with Alpha Strategy having conducted an audit last year for vulnerabilities.

Councillors voted on the redesign at their June 1 meeting, opting to remove a portion of the resolution that would have seen additional $10,000 in other site upgrades. The original upgrade plan was slated for $35,000, but was trimmed back to $20,000 with an optional $10,000.

“The reason it’s $20,000 is that the cost of a security ticket is included,” said Calla.

The extra $10,000 would have been for services to provide SEO optimization, social media updates, newsletters, email signatures, marketing, and related content for both websites.

“I’m okay with redesigning it. I’m not okay with spending the extra $10,000 right now,” said Coun. Brent Taillefer.

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Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.

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