Hackers target Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs in cyberattack

By Sean Lyngaas, CNN

A “cyber incident” first detected last week has disrupted some of the Canadian Foreign Ministry’s “internet services”, the Canadian government announced on Monday.

Canadian cybersecurity officials were working to restore those internet services as early as Monday evening. “Essential services for Canadians” through the Department of Foreign Affairs was not affected by the incident, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, a government agency, said in a statement to CNN.

“At this time, there is no indication that other government departments have been affected by this incident,” the statement said.

Treasury Board spokesman Alain Belle-Isle declined to comment when asked who might be responsible for the hack, citing an ongoing investigation.

“We are constantly reviewing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from electronic threats, hacking and cyber espionage,” the Canadian government statement said.

Separately, Canadian officials have urged the public to be vigilant against cyber threats.

Last week, Canada’s signals intelligence agency advised Canadian critical infrastructure operators “to increase their awareness and protection against Russian state-sponsored cyber threats”, echoing calls from US and UK agencies to prepare for possible retaliatory activities by Russia in the context of tensions over Ukraine.

It was unclear if there was any connection between the Canadian public notice and the hacking incident faced by the Canadian Foreign Ministry. Belle-Isle said Canadian cybersecurity officials regularly issue advisories about hacking threats.

“As this investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further on specific details for operational reasons,” Belle-Isle said in an email.

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