The Canadian government has stated that it is looking into a January 19 cyberattack on Global Affairs Canada (GAC), the country’s department for foreign and consular relations. In a statement posted recently, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), Shared Services Canada, and the Communications Security Establishment said they are working with GAC to resolve the situation.
“Critical services for Canadians through Global Affairs Canada are currently functioning. Some access to internet and internet-based services are not available as part of the mitigation measures and work is underway to restore them. There is no indication that any other departments have been impacted by this incident,” as stated by federal agencies. “There are systems and tools in place to monitor, detect, and investigate potential threats, and to take active measures to address and neutralize them when they occur.”
CBC News uncovered emails from Canadian embassies throughout the world suggesting that some were “experiencing electronic communications issues” and that email accounts were down for hours. According to the official statement, an investigation into the event is underway, and no organization or nation can be blamed for the act.
The agencies said that their cyber defense and incident response teams monitor the GC and Canadian vital infrastructure 24 X 7 to detect intrusions and inform potential victims. On Tuesday, cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alperovitch showed on Canadian TV and stated that Canadian sources told him it wasn’t an “attack” because it was not harmful.
The incident occurred on the same day that the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security issued an alert warning critical infrastructure operators about Russian cyber threats. The warning was similar to one issued by US authorities, but analysts quickly dismissed any link between the two.
While the fact that the attack and announcement happened on the same day suggests a relationship, Emsisoft security expert Brett Callow says it’s a mistake to believe that’s actually the case.