Chinese hacked into computers, says NRC

The Canadian Press
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Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird, left, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China, Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

OTTAWA — Chinese hackers have infiltrated the computer systems at the National Research Council, forcing it to shut down its IT network for an extended period, the federal government revealed Tuesday.

The Treasury Board Secretariat said there is no evidence that other government computer systems or data have been compromised.

But the NRC’s computers have been isolated from the rest of the government’s systems as a precaution.

And the council said it could be some time before a new, more secure system is up and running.

“NRC is continuing to work closely with its IT experts and security partners to create a new secure IT infrastructure,” the council said in a statement.

“This could take approximately one year however; every step is being taken to minimize disruption.”

In a separate statement, the government said one of Canada’s spy agencies, the Communications Security Establishment, detected and confirmed the cyber attack.

The intrusion came from “a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor,” said the Treasury Board.

“We have no evidence that data compromises have occurred on the broader Government of Canada network,” the statement said.

Still, the NRC said it has notified the Privacy Commissioner and its clients and stakeholders about the breach.

The agency said it would not release further information, citing security and confidentiality reasons.

However, it planned to update Canadians on the situation by Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird raised concerns over the breach with Chinese government officials in Beijing Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the minister.

“The minister took the opportunity to discuss the situation with his counterpart, and they had a full and frank exchange of views on the matter,” said Adam Hodge.

“The government takes this issue very seriously and we are addressing it at the highest levels in both Beijing and Ottawa.”

Baird is currently on a three-country tour of Asia to promote economic ties among Canada, China, Mongolia and Japan.

The National Research Council touts itself as “the Government of Canada’s premier organization for research and development,” which partners its scientists, engineers and business experts with private industry to bring new technologies to market.

Organizations: National Research Council, Tuesday.The Treasury Board Secretariat, Communications Security Establishment

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Canada, Beijing Asia China

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  • Bill Meeker
    July 29, 2014 - 17:28

    Garth, you must mean the foreign policy that Benjamin Netanyahu wrote for him when it comes to Israel. When it comes to the Chinese isn't Harper trying to sell them oil and other natural resources even though they are and have been hacking into the federal government servers and stealing state and industrial secrets. Harper is such a hypocrite. He pretends to be hard on the Chinese on the hacking issue and then tries to sell them oil. The only thing he is honest about is his love of Netanyahu and his killing of Palestinians. Actually, there are times I feel sorry for Harper. He may actually think he is a big player on the world stage, but in reality the world knows he has nothing to offer and so don't even bother to ask for his help. He talks of being tough on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and how that country needs and deserves Canada's help, but he has not even paid for the promises he made to that country last spring. They are still looking for the aid money Harper said was coming. Harper's foreign policy rests on how many votes he can garner from any particular group in this country. It just so happens there is a large Ukrainian population so of course he promises that country all this help that he never delivers. On the Israeli issue you just have to look at Harper's right wing fundamentalist Christian views and you will see why he backs the Israeli government in such a toadying way. If fact you and he have a lot in common - Harper licks Netanyahu's boots and you kiss Harper's behind.

  • andy man
    July 29, 2014 - 13:21

    I hope canada is not part of usa or terrorists partners. If they do, hehehe...double standards time. I know you do that to free people.

    • Garth Staples
      July 29, 2014 - 16:25

      PM Harper thankfully has developed an independent foreign policy something 'soft' liberals hate.