The costs of a marathon battle with a new strain of computer virus have yet to be determined, but the City of Nanaimo’s computer system is back on the grid.
Information technology staff worked throughout the weekend clearing the Qakbot virus from more than 400 work stations and had the system up and running Sunday afternoon.
“We opened up the gates again to the outside world and all the applications are running,” said Per Kristensen, director of information technology. “We spent the weekend going through all the systems are we’re confident we have defeated the virus.”
The city was forced to shut down its computer system Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. following the discovery of the virus.
“Because we were proactive in shutting down the Internet connection, we’re sure that no information got out,” said Kristensen. “We captured the virus, sent a copy of it to our anti-virus company Wednesday and they sent us back a signature of it Thursday morning so we could scan it and start pulling it out of all the computers.”
Kristensen said it’s unknown how the virus got in the city’s system, as the threat can come from e-mail, the web, document attachments or images.
“We have multiple levels of anti-virus protection, but this strain had never been seen by anyone,” he said. “We were one of the unlucky ones.”
Cost of overtime for IT staff hasn’t been totalled and Al Kenning, city manager, said putting a monetary figure on lost production is difficult.
“The overtime will be tabulated, but the big issue for us is the opportunity costs and the lost productivity,” he said. “Garbage was still being picked up, water mains were fixed and fire crews still responded to calls,, but IT staff were tied up for basically five days to solve the problem and there are some people who rely on access to the information system in the computer to do their job.”
Kenning said some administrative and finance staff took holiday time while the computers were down.