Canada investigating cyberattack amid tensions with Russia

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Toronto: An attack on the computer systems of Canada’s Global Affairs Department last week has kept at least some diplomats without access to some online functions, the government’s Treasury Board said.

The board said Tuesday that access to a very limited number of internet-based services remain restricted as part of the mitigation measures. It didn’t say who was behind the Jan. 19 attack or give details of what occurred.

The incident came a day before the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security urged companies to bolster protections against the potential for Russian-backed attacks amid escalating tensions over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Government of Canada deals with ongoing and persistent cyber risks and threats every day, the board said. Cyberthreats can result from system or application vulnerabilities, or from deliberate, persistent, targeted attacks by outside actors to gain access to information.

Moscow is currently in a military standoff with NATO including Canada over Russia’s military buildup on the border with Ukraine, which reported Jan. 16 that Russia appeared to be behind an attack on its websites something Russia denied.

Earlier, Microsoft said dozens of computer systems at an unspecified number of Ukrainian government agencies had been infected with destructive malware disguised as ransomware.

Families of Canadian diplomatic staff in Ukraine have been told to return to Canada due to the Russian military buildup and destabilizing activities in and around Ukraine.

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