The Stack Archive

Cyberattack cripples Canadian federal websites, Anonymous claims credit

Thu 18 Jun 2015

Hacking collective Anonymous has claimed responsibility for taking down the Canadian government’s digital services in what it says was a retaliative attack for the country’s newly passed anti-terrorism laws.

Dozens of websites and servers including canada.ca and the national spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) site, were brought offline for two hours on Wednesday night. The cyber attack was confirmed on Twitter by cabinet minister Tony Clement. “Confirmed today that Govt of Canada GC servers have been cyberattacked,” he wrote.

The government added that the hack had also affected email and internet access but that it was working to restore its full offering of services.

In a video posted to YouTube, Anonymous stated that the new ant-terrorism law passed by Canadian officials violated human rights and targeted those who do not agree with the government.

The Anonymous spokesperson said: “Today, the 17th of June 2015, we launched an attack against the Canadian senate and government of Canada’s websites to protest against the recent passing of Bill C51 – A bill which is a clear violation of the universal declaration of human rights, as well as removing our legal protections that have stood enshrined in the Magna Carta for 800 years.”

The new anti-terrorism legislation will broaden the powers given to the CSIS, and has made it easier for federal intelligence agencies to increase surveillance for perceived security threats and share information on individuals.

This is the biggest cyber attack to hit Canada since the Chinese-backed hack on the country’s leading scientific research agency’s computer system last year. The hackers were reportedly attempting to use the National Research Council’s network as a backdoor to reach government systems.

Clement commented: “I think our imaginations could think of ways in which it could be worse, but obviously, this is inconvenient for the public and for government, and we don’t like to see it happen.”

He added those Canadian security officials are currently looking at what happened to prevent similar attacks in the future. “There’s always concern that this is part of a pattern, and I’m sure that our best security people and tech people are working on ways to make sure that that is not a template,” he said.

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