TORONTO – Ontario officials are investigating reports of a possible security breach involving the provincial COVID-19 vaccine booking portal.
A spokesman for the Solicitor General confirmed that the government has received several reports of spam text messages received by individuals who scheduled appointments or obtained vaccine certificates through the COVID-9 vaccination system.
“Ontarians should be aware that these texts are financial in nature and that the government will never conduct financial transactions through these methods,” Marion Ringuet said in a statement.
“The government takes allegations of fraud very seriously and is aggressively investigating these reports along with our partner ministries, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and others.”
Granthshala News Toronto has reached out to OPP for a statement on the breach.
It is unclear when officials were first notified of the potential breach, but Premier Doug Ford said he had received information about the investigation over the weekend.
“I’ve had conversations with our chief of staff, principal secretary and cabinet secretary and they have all hands on deck in all of our ministries especially or health ministry, and I believe with that group that we are down there, “Cyber security is very important,” Ford told reporters on Monday morning.
“They’re getting more technical, more sophisticated every day.”
The news of a potential safety breach came after Ontario announced that the COVID-19 vaccine appointment would become available for children aged five to 11 from Tuesday.
Families will be able to book appointments through the COVID-19 vaccine portal as well as through other methods such as pharmacies and primary care offices.
Asked about the incident by a reporter, Solicitor General Sylvia reiterated Ford’s belief in the system.
“This investigation, and any investigations we do when we hear about potential breaches, we do a thorough investigation,” Jones said.
“We are doing that right now. We believe in the booking system that there are no worries and, as I said, we will continue to investigate all issues as we hear from locals.”