The office of Canada’s National Research Council recently fell prey to a cyber-attack from alleged Chinese hackers, say Canada’s CIO.
Chief information officer Corinne Charette revealed that the R&D body was forced to shut down a number of its computers last weekend in response to the “highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor”.
The Canadian government had no reservations about laying blame directly on Chinese hackers for the incident.
“Recently, the Government of Canada, through the work of the Communications Security Establishment, detected and confirmed a cyber intrusion on the IT infrastructure of the National Research Council of Canada by a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor,” said one of the official statements.
The NRC added that its systems have been isolated from the broader Government of Canada network to avoid further damage. “We have no evidence that data compromises have occurred on the broader Government of Canada network,” said Corinne Charette.
The scale of the compromise with NRC is not clear, but the Toronto Star and CTV News in Canada report NRC president John McDougall as saying “any information held in our systems, including employees’ personal information, may have been compromised. Client information and data may also have been compromised.”
“The government takes this issue very seriously and we are addressing it at the highest levels in both Beijing and Ottawa,” wrote Adam Hodge, a spokesman for [Foreign Affairs Minister, John] Baird, in an email to the Star.
China’s embassy in Ottawa has not yet responded to media queries for a comment.
The National Research Council has promised a new update on the situation for July 31.