Update: Related to the cyber-incident, Jan. 2023
Dear OC community,
Thank you for your continued support through the past few weeks. We recognize that there are many questions circulating and are making every effort to share information as it is confirmed through the ongoing and active investigation. Below are questions and answers addressing where we are today.
Okanagan College will continue to provide updates as we are able, with a focus on prioritizing our community’s safety and security.
President, Okanagan College
Was it ransomware?
It would be more accurate to call the incident a double extortion attack.
It is now abundantly clear that the intended purpose of the attack was to both steal data and encrypt our IT infrastructure to extort the college. Unfortunately, this type of attack is extremely common, and these particular hackers specifically target education institutions.
Why didn’t you tell us earlier that it was ransomware?
We disclosed pertinent information as it became available, and we notified current students and staff as soon as it became clear that personal information may have been exposed to risk.
It is important to remember that we are still actively responding to and investigating the incident, and we don’t yet have a complete picture of the events. The recovery and investigation process will likely take several months to complete.
How much was the ransom? Why didn’t you just pay it to protect students and staff?
We did not entertain conversations about paying a ransom. Regardless of the amount, even if we had paid a ransom, there still would have been no way to be absolutely certain that it would have resulted in the destruction or even non-publication of any stolen or compromised data.
Where is the compromised data posted? Can I check to see if data belonging to me was posted?
Data that appears to belong to Okanagan College and its stakeholders has been posted on a dark website belonging to a criminal organization. The site cannot be found using normal search engines and you would need a special type of browser to access the site.
We do not recommend that you attempt to find or access the data. The data was posted by hackers, and there is no guarantee that the data is safe to view and has not been infected with malware intended to cause additional harm.
Will you tell me exactly what information belonging me to was compromised?
No. It will take forensic investigators several weeks if not months to process the data, and they will need to review each file line-by-line. As per our notification on January 23, current students and staff should work under the assumption that any personal information provided to the college was subject to risk, and act accordingly. If you haven’t already done so, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the credit monitoring solution we are providing.
I can see data online, why can’t you?
We are working with cybersecurity professionals who will be evaluating the data. We do not recommend that you attempt to find or access the data. The data was posted by hackers, and there is no guarantee that the data is safe to view and has not been infected with malware intended to cause additional harm.
Support for students and staff
If you need support:
Students can access a wide range of support through Student Services, including Counselling Services. To book a counselling appointment, visit this page. Students can also access mental health support 24/7 through the Province of BC’s Here2Talk page.
Employees can access support, including Counselling and other online services, through the College’s EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) Homewood Health. Log into your Homeweb account at www.homeweb.ca or download the mobile app at www.homeweb.ca/app. More information is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/efap. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Pension & Benefits Coordinators at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information about the Cyber-Incident and Network Updates, see: https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/cyber-incident-and-network-updates
April 4, 2023
Q: What's your name? A: Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores Q: What's your hometown? A: Quito – Ecuador – South America Q: How did you end up at Okanagan College? A: Well, I studied for a bachelor's degree in Law in Ecuador. Then, I worked for a while and got my Master's degree in Government and Culture of Organizations at the University of Pamplona. When I returned to my country, professional opportunities arose for me. I mean, a Master's degree improved my career. Spain helped me dev...Read more...
June 7, 2022
Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...Read more...
May 30, 2022
Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences. Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critic...Read more...
May 27, 2022
Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...Read more...