Canada Research Council Suffers Cyber-Attack from China

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 30, 2014 2:08 PM EST

There has been an alleged Chinese cyber-attack on Canada as a professional sponsored by the Asian country hacked the computer systems at the National Research Council in Canada. Corinne Charette, the chief information officer of Canada, said that it was a "highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" who did the job.

REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 12, 2014.

Communications Security Establishment Canada was able to discover that the NRC system had been hacked by a Chinese professional. Interestingly, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was in China when it the alleged cyber-attack was declared in public. Baird cancelled his press conference which was to be held in Beijing just after he had arrived in the country. There was, however, no reason given on why the press conference had been cancelled.

However, according to Baird's office, the minister discussed about the alleged cyber-attack with Chinese officials. Officials from both the countries had a candid discussion on the issue as it was mentioned that Canada took the issue quite seriously. The situation is being discussed at the highest level in Canada and in China.

The NRC, on the other hand, said that the rebuilding of the computer infrastructure might take a year. In its official statement on Tuesday, July 29, attempts have already started on the rebuilding process. It has also been clarified that this was not the first time Canada suffered a Chinese cyber-attack. There have been previous occasions when the source of a particular cyber-attack on Canada was China. However, this may be the first time Canada is quite open about blaming China for the attack.

The NRC official statement also said that its stakeholders and clients were informed about the situation. "Following assessments by NRC and its security partners, action has been taken to contain and address this security breach, including protecting its information holdings and notifying the privacy commissioner," the statement said.

Now that the NRC database has been compromised, it may question the authenticity of the organisation to be the most significant research institute in Canada.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

To contact the editor, e-mail:

(Photo: REUTERS/Chris Wattie / )
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 12, 2014.
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