Sunday, October 30, 2011

CSIS Report: Canada Spy Agency Warned Gov Weeks Before Crippling Cyber Attack

Via The Globe and Mail (Canada) -

Canada's spy agency warned the government that federal departments were under assault from rogue hackers just weeks before an attack crippled key computers.

A newly released intelligence assessment, prepared last November, sounded a security alarm about malicious, targeted emails disguised as legitimate messages — the very kind that shut down networks two months later.

“The systems and networks used by various Canadian government departments have been attacked directly or indirectly,” says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service report.

A declassified copy of the top secret intelligence assessment, Cyberattacks on Canadian Government Departments: An Overview, was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Extensive portions of the Nov. 4, 2010, report — including what are likely direct references to foreign suspects — have been excised due to ongoing sensitivity of the material.

“Canada has been engaged in detecting, monitoring and mitigating a series of ongoing and evolving ... cyberattacks directed against the computer systems and networks used by Canadian government departments,” says the CSIS document.


Employee Internet access at the Treasury Board and Finance departments — whose systems are shared — was cut off in January after what officials called “an unauthorized attempt” to break into the networks.

A routine evaluation of both departments last year revealed they had not been following all of the government's information technology security requirements.

Records previously released under the access law show government employees in a number of departments were advised last January of attempts to break into their systems, only days before one of the attempts succeeded.

The CSIS assessment notes the “tools and techniques used in these attacks are in a constant state of development and incorporate new computer-related technologies and Internet-related capabilities.”


In its annual public report last June, the spy service said cyberattacks launched through the Internet were the fastest growing form of espionage.

Attackers target computer systems in search of technology, intellectual property, military strategy and commercial or weapons-related information, the annual report said.

No comments:

Post a Comment