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Quebec Shut Down Almost 4,000 Government Websites Because Of A Security Flaw

3,992 sites to be exact.

Senior Editor
Quebec Shut Down Almost 4,000 Government Websites Because Of A Security Flaw

Quebec shut down 3,992 government websites in response to a security vulnerability that came to light Friday, December 10, Quebec Minister Responsible for Government Digital Transformation Éric Caire announced Sunday.

The vulnerability lied with the webserver Apache and has affected online entities worldwide, according to Caire. He said the flaw would have allowed an attacker to infiltrate a server and eventually take control using malware.

The minister authorized the shutdown of government websites in light of "the large number of systems" that now need to be "examined" and the critical nature of the security flaw, his office said in a press release.

Caire underlined at a press conference that there is "no indication that we were subject to a successful attack." He called the decision to shut down government sites "preventive" and not "reactive."

The 3,992 affected sites cover public administration, the education and health networks, according to the minister.

While the Quebec.ca site — which Caire's office says hosts "the vast majority" of government information for the public — is back up and running after patches took effect Friday, other sites will only come back online after they've been analyzed and their vulnerabilities, if any exist, are fixed.

"We take the discovery of this security breach very seriously and have been in action since Friday to secure all of our informational assets," Caire said in a statement.

"Everything is being done to limit the consequences of these closures for citizens and we will not compromise the security of our assets and the data of Quebecers."

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