Canadian Government Ministry Under Attack

Hackers struck Global Affairs Canada, (GAC) the government entity responsible for diplomatic and global relations on Friday 19th January, according to a statement by the Treasury Board of Canada. The statement does not identify who carried out the cyber attack, but Russian hackers are thought to be the perpetrators.

As a result of the attack, some access the Internet and Internet-based services are not currently available, although mitigation measures are underway to restore them. There is no indication that any other government departments were impacted by the incident.

The Treasury Board statement says no other government department experienced a cyber attack. "We are constantly reviewing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from electronic threats, hacking, and cyber espionage. We encourage all government and non-government partners to use cyber security best practices."

The attack comes amid tensions over Ukraine and two days after the Canada Centre for Cyber Security said malware was being used to target Ukrainian organisations.

In the US the Department of Homeland Security said that the US could be a target of Russian cyber attacks if the government responds to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. The GAC hack also comes at a time when Russia-Ukraine tensions continue to escalate, with Canada taking a strong line against Russia's troop build-up on the Ukrainian border.

Canada's government announced a $120 million loan to the Ukrainian government and re-committed Canadian soldiers to train Kiev's security forces. "We're going to continue to be there to respond in ways that we can, to support Ukraine," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.

Canada's intelligence agency has advised Canadian critical infrastructure operators "to bolster their awareness of and protection against Russian state-sponsored cyber threats," echoing calls from US and British agencies to brace for potential retaliatory cyber activities from Russia in the context of tensions over Ukraine.

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security:      Reuters:      Global News:       ABC:     Computing:     CNN

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