The agency that oversees cybersecurity for the federal government says it is aware of reports that hackers have taken some government websites offline, just as Canada welcomes Ukraine’s prime minister.
The Prime Minister’s Office website was not loaded on Tuesday morning. The Senate website experienced problems on Monday.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal is visiting Toronto. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) says it is not uncommon to see attacks against countries hosting Ukrainian officials.
A pro-Russian hacking group took credit for both attacks.
“While these incidents attract attention, they have very little impact on the affected systems,” Robyn Hawco, spokeswoman for the Communications Security Center, said in an email.
“CSE and its Canadian Center for Cyber Security have observed that it is not uncommon to see Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against countries hosting visits from Ukrainian government officials.”
Hawco said the Canadian government, “like all other governments and private sector organizations around the world,” is a target of persistent cyber threats and is working with other government departments “to ensure there are systems and tools in place to monitor, detect and investigate potential threats, and to neutralize threats when they occur.”
CSE warned of retaliation from Russia-aligned hackers
Earlier this year, the agency called for an “increased state of vigilance” against the threat of retaliatory cyberattacks by Russian-aligned hackers.
This warning came just hours after Ottawa promised to give Ukraine four Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks, and after another Russian-aligned cybercrime group pledged to prosecute countries that support Ukraine in the ongoing war.
Germany recently experienced its own DDoS attack by hackers targeting government sites and airports.
The country’s security agency, BSI, said some targets in the financial sector were also hit, but the hits had little effect.
Nancy Faeser, Germany’s interior minister, has warned that her country faces a “massive danger” of Russian sabotage.
“Cybersecurity issues have been exacerbated by the war,” she said in February. “Attacks by pro-Russian hackers have increased.”
Moscow has denied carrying out this hacking operation.
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