Unnamed country behind breach of 19 B.C. civil servants' emails

A statement named Russia, Iran, North Korea and China as countries behind 'wide-ranging and long-term campaigns to compromise government and private sector computer systems.'

Unnamed country behind breach of 19 B.C. civil servants' emails
The Canadian Press / Chad Hipolito
Remove Ads

A cyberattack backed by an unnamed foreign government infiltrated nearly two dozen British Columbia government email inboxes, accessing sensitive personal information of 19 public servants, according to an official update on the investigation.

B.C. Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth provided an update on Monday, where he said a "very sophisticated" cyberattack did not target any members of the province's cabinet. He also did not reveal which ministries were compromised and did not say what country investigators believe is responsible for the attack, the Globe and Mail reports.

Farnworth added no sensitive information is believed to have been stolen, though personal information was accessed. He said employees have been informed of the hack and provided with free credit monitoring and help protecting their identities.

"I know this situation is concerning for many," Mr. Farnworth said. "We have no indication that the general public's information was accessed."

The minister stated authorities have analyzed the vulnerabilities that enabled the attack, and the province's team of 76 cybersecurity professionals has enhanced the protection of data and the defence of government information systems.

Prior to the news conference, the head of the province's public service, Shannon Salter, sent an email providing information on the investigation to employees, and informing civil services that employee personal files were targeted. She said the attack also targeted one employee "who had family information in their inbox."

Government employees were asked in late April to change their passwords to protect against the security breach. Farnworth said the delay was based on advice from the cybersecurity agency.

The breach is one of many recent attacks in the province, including one that forced London Drugs to shut down stores across Western Canada for over a week.

On Monday, Dominic LeBlanc, Farnworth's federal counterpart, released a statement urging Canadians to remain vigilant against cyber threats to national security and attempts by foreign nations to meddle in domestic politics.

The statement named Russia, Iran, North Korea and China as countries behind "wide-ranging and long-term campaigns to compromise government and private sector computer systems."

"These states obtain information that can be used to interfere with our political systems and our critical infrastructure, and can be used to threaten or harm people in Canada," the statement said.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads