Foreign hackers breach Canadian government computers
Hackers traced to Chinese servers penetrated two Canadian economic offices, sources told the CBC.
February 17th, 2011
09:25 AM ET

Foreign hackers breach Canadian government computers

Hackers traced to China penetrated two key Canadian economic ministries, gaining access to highly classified information, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports.

The hackers took over computers in the executive offices of the Finance Department and the Treasury Board, unnamed sources told the network. They then sent fake e-mails to government computer techs and other employees to get them to divulge sensitive passwords in a technique known as executive spear-phishing.

Canadian federal officials disabled the two departments' internet connections for a time to halt any loss of data, CBC reported.

It isn't clear whether other departments were breached or how much data was stolen. Government officials aren't talking about the attack, which occurred in January.

The source of the hack was traced to servers in China, but that doesn't mean the hackers were Chinese, the sources told CBC. They could have routed their paths through China to hide their identities, the sources said.

The pattern of the attack mirrors the GhostNet blitz that  hacked 100 other governments in March, according to the tech publication The Register.

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Filed under: Canada • Crime • Espionage • Security breaches • Technology
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Joel2208

    This may not be good,then again it depends on which foreigners are doing the hacking. The C.I.A. does it all the time.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • clearvoice1

      Chineses hackers are being supported by the chinese government inorder to access confidential information about the economic success of other countries. Without cheating on other countries and screwing them by flooding their market whole bunch of junks chinese are nothing but a bunch of foolish peasants.

      February 17, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Talk about dumb...

      February 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • arti

      Unlikely that this is being supported by the Chinese government. More likely, it's some smart kid in Florida (like the infamous Alvarez who is now in prison) who is routing the access through Chinese servers to mislead gullible people like clearvoice1.

      February 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go figure

      It's always China. But the evil Chinese will always deny it. Why aren't they considered a terror organization?

      February 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      More right-wing mumbo-jumbo like the above posted by idiots like clearvoice1and Go figure. It goes to show just how dumb people can be. No wonder the Tea Party Movement is flourishing!!!

      February 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*Lobo74

      I wonder if the Rolling Stone magazine is looking for Justin Biebers opinion of computer hackers .

      February 18, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Richp, Easton, Pa

    At some point some unqualified idiot in charge of security will get the idea, 'Hey, lets take our important stuff of the internet'. At that point your real IT professionals that have been telling you this for 5 years will just shrug and be happy that you got hit on the upside of the head with a big enough 2×4.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Lecter

      Agreed, RichP. The internet should only be reserved for gaming, streaming video, and, of course, p0rn. You would think that the Internet was designed only for commercial use, government, and information.

      February 17, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • SavannahK

      sometimes, i wonder...why dont we all just post our big time government secrets on facebook...i mean, could it be much different?

      February 17, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. sowhat

    nice work Chine

    February 17, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. manny

    Hey bam. Whereyou from? A real country..hahaha

    February 17, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. manny

    Donald Trump is right. The chinesse are talking advantage of america and other nations. They cheat and steal

    February 17, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      Here we go with xenophobia. When we and our allies do it, it is ok, eh?

      Like RichP pointed out earlier, our problem is this unbridled online mentality. We fail to appreciate the trade off between convenience and security. Unfortunately, this "facebook mentality" just keeps festering.

      February 17, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Good point.Canuck. The American public has developped a phobia toward the Chinese as it did toward the Russians after WW2,both unreal unfortunately.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Cherries

      @ Canuck. I went to see the Canucks vs the Flames last month. It was awesome!

      February 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go figure

      China is at war with the West. They just haven't declared it. Smart move on their part, I have to say.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bailoutsos

    Could have been Russia testing their security, just like when Russia sent the Bear bombers to Canada's northern border last year.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |

      Am I missing something here? I thought that the Americans got over their paranoia toward the Russians some 20 years ago. My money's still on the C.I.A.

      February 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go figure

      China is like that kid in highschool that pokes you, and when you turn around they are looking the other way. It doesn't usually end until you turn around and punch them in the face.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go figure

      Neither the C.I.A., nor Russia. It was China.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |

      Can you prove it,Go figure? Of course not!!!

      February 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. flapjack

    hopefully they didn't get the most valuable of all Canadian secrets; maple syrup and crown royal.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • cooldaddy

      they missed the instructions on how to build a quality product.

      February 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Erica K.R.

    Lol@ Bam. Nah I`m sure the message to execs would have read "Good afternoon. I am investigator. Please send password to this chinese email account. Have a nice day".

    February 17, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. David

    Bam, I can NOT STOP LAUGHING AT YOUR COMMENT!!!!!! That was too funny! RichP, I TOTALLY agree with you.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. David Emery

    Photo is misleading. It's very unlikely the Canadian government machines that were hacked were Macbooks.... And the display is an old screen saver...

    February 17, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. rob

    I'm a Canadian and I think it's great- hopefully we soon have a world where no one tries to keep secrets.
    A open, honest world with no lies, no back room deals. Yes it will take some adjusting to our fears..

    February 17, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Go figure

      They will always deny it, but it is always China. They have Chinese here denying it, and pretending to be Canadians who don't care.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric R Biddle

    Could be associates of Eric R Biddle cyber attacking the Canadian government for failing to judicially clear his name and give just compensation for torture and wrongful imprisonment.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. moros

    damn chinese

    February 17, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. MissingThePoint

    Where's Frank with his leftist propaganda and charges of people being brainwashed by the right? Lol China is a dirty liar and cheat. They stole Lockheed F-35 plans and now they are up to it again. All China or India does is steal or reverse engineer American designs. The US people need to demand their government end all economic ties with China. When they ask for their money back we should laugh at them. Why honor a loan to a crook? Yes Trump is right about American/Chinese relations. He called for an end to outsourcing and demands we start making stuff in this country again. Donald also wants to appoint some tough guard dog types that can deal with the liar and cheater China. Nobody will listen though. Most Americans care about how good looking or cool a presidential candidate is instead of their credentials (Palin/Obama anybody?)

    February 17, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      What I want to know is just how much of our technology was stolen from abroad by the C.I.A. That the right-wing media never talks about,not mention the fact that virtually all the WW2 German scientists either went to England or came to the United States after the war whereas none ever went to Russia.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      I totally agree with you,Frank. At least you read your history books whereas a lot of people didn't and that makes them quite xenophobic.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • MUSSIE

      Cesar, I can only hope that your comment is humourous and isn't a result of you being idealogically prejudiced. The Russian space program was built on German technology just as much as the United States space program – the only difference being that mercans got von Braun

      February 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      You must be kidding me,MUSSIE. We didn't just get Werner von Braun but almost all the German engineers and scientists,except of course for those who went to England. Like I said before,none ever went to Russia so how would they get German technology? I guess you've been listening to too much propaganda out of Washington.

      February 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Riccomb

      China steals but leave India out of it. They are an important ally who develops their tech honestly!

      February 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MissingThePoint

    @Canuck: Most people online are fat unemployed losers experiencing perpetual virginity, so they make fun of others like 3rd graders. I've been to Canada and it's a great country. I'm actually considering moving out of USA if the tard/intelligent ratio gets any worse. Just remember that with anonymity comes inflated ego and bawls.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
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