Instead of the normal town webpage, visitors who logged onto townofgrandfallswindsor.com were greeted by a scam pharmacy site selling pills like Viagra. This screenshot was taken on Tuesday morning before the issue was fixed.
Visitors accessing the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor’s official website late last week or over the weekend may have gotten a shock.
The town’s website, located at townofgrandfallswindsor.com, had been replaced by an official-looking but fraudulent discount drug vendor specializing in certain male performance drugs.
According to Economic Development and Tourism committee chair, councillor Amy Coady-Davis, the mix-up was the handiwork of hackers, and is something the town has had to deal with at least once a year.
“It’s unfortunate, it happens, we try every year to increase the security on our website to stop this from happening but these hackers are sharp, this is what they do, they can filter their way in,” Coady-Davis said.
Once the Town discovered the issue it was reported to their webmaster fix as soon as possible.
According to Coady-Davis, incidents like this fortunately pose no security threats as the hacking only affected the website itself, not the town’s own computers or servers.
“There’s no sensitive information on our website at all. The only information that’s on our website is emails of town staff and councillors. There's no internal information, no payroll information, no secure data or anything like that,” she said.
Coady-Davis added anyone who happened to log on to the site while it was hacked shouldn’t be concerned, as it won’t cause any issues on the user’s end.
As of press time on Tuesday, Coady-Davis said the issue was being fixed and the site should be up and running soon.
Coady-Davis said the town is currently in the process of getting their website redeveloped through a different company.
“I don’t know if that will better protect us from this happening again, that’s something we’re definitely interested in,” she said. “It’s an inconvenience to our residents and to visitors of the site and an inconvenience to us. It’s something we’d like to avoid if at all possible.”