THE PORT of Spain City Corporation is dealing with a cyber attack, likely committed by a hacker or hackers outside the country.
The corporation is dealing with ransomware, a form of malicious software that infects a computer and displays messages, usually demanding payment of a fee in order to unlock a system or not to publicly release confidential information.
It is not yet clear if the corporation was effectively extorted, as is common in such attacks, or whether the ransomware has been removed.
The corporation's database administrator Colin Baldeosingh said the police cybercrime unit and foreign experts are investigating the sophisticated attack, which began on October 23. The hackers got access to many confidential files, minutes of meetings and financial information.
The attack also caused a delay in corporation staff receiving their salaries last month.
Baldeosingh said he would not share details about the attack because of the active police investigation, but said it was similar to the one recently faced by Tatil Life Insurance in Barbados earlier last month.
Ansa McAl, the insurance company's regional parent conglomerate, described the attack on Tatil as a "security incident" which made its way to TT, affecting the company's operations.
In the Port of Spain case,Baldeosingh said neither the corporation's website nor any other cloud services were affected.
Mayor Joel Martinez revealed the cyber attack at the city corporation's statutory meeting last week. He said he had been working late at his City Hall office the week before when Baldeosingh alerted him that the corporation was under cyber attack.
Newsday spoke with Martinez about the cyber attack briefly on Wednesday, but he said he would only be able to share more information after an update from Baldeosingh. However, Martinez could not be immediately reached on Thursday afternoon. Nor could the corporation's CEO.
Martinez previously said the corporation will increase its cybersecurity and back up important data in case of a future mishap or attack.