Several federal departments and agencies say they are working together to respond to a recent cyberattack on Canada’s Global Affairs systems. [GAC].
According to a government statement, the “cyber incident” took place on January 19 and was confined to that government department.
“There is no indication that any other government department has been affected by this incident,” a government news release said.
“This investigation is ongoing. We are unable to comment on more specific details for operational reasons.”
The statement says that the Secretary of the Treasury Board, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Canada Shared Services, the Communications Security Establishment and its Canadian Center for Cyber Security are working to respond to the incident.
The federal government did not say which systems were attacked or if there was any damage, but did confirm that GAC systems have not yet returned to normal use.
“Critical services for Canadians through Global Affairs Canada are currently operating,” the statement said. “Some… Internet-based services are currently unavailable as part of mitigation measures and work is underway to restore them.”
The statement did not say where the attack originated or who may have been responsible.
A ‘known’ threat from Russia
On the day of the incident, the Canadian Center for Cyber Security issued a bulletin urging those responsible for Canada’s online infrastructure to “raise awareness and take mitigating action against Russian-backed cyber threat activity.”
The center said it “is aware of foreign cyber threat activities, including by Russian-backed actors, to target Canadian critical infrastructure network operators, their operational and information technology.”
That statement followed similar warnings from the US on January 11 and the UK on January 12.
Russia’s aggressive stance against Ukraine is straining its relations with the West.
Russia has massed approximately 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border and is demanding that NATO promise to never allow Ukraine to join. Moscow has also demanded that allied nations withdraw troops now stationed in former Soviet bloc countries.
Some of these demands, like the call to permanently exclude Ukraine from NATO, are not a start for the alliance, increasing the likelihood of open conflict.
Last month, experts told CBC News that Moscow would likely not condone direct attacks attributable to NATO members, but would almost certainly use its vast cyber and disinformation capabilities to sow confusion and conflict among loyalists and closer allies. Ukraine’s neighbors during a crisis.
“I think you could expect high-level cyberattacks right before Article 5, right before the war, whether or not Putin goes into Ukraine,” said Matthew Schmidt, an associate professor and national security expert at the University of New Haven, Connecticut.
“That has become a constant background element of modern warfare. It’s happening now.”
Schmidt said he believes the Baltic countries in NATO will be selected because of their Russian-speaking populations.
Canada leads the Western military alliance’s forward presence battlegroups in Latvia and has been on the receiving end of Russian cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns in the past.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism