Canada Announces New Aid to Ukraine, Russian Cyberattacks Ensue
This week, Canada hosted Ukrainian government officials, followed by an announcement that Canada would be increasing the aid it is sending to Ukraine, now including several thousand rifles and light machine guns manufactured by Colt Canada.
It was revealed that a series of relatively minor cyberattacks hit various Canadian interests. These included the Prime Minister’s web site, the web sites of Hydro Quebec, the Laurentian Bank, as well as the Port of Quebec. All of these entities reported no lasting damage, no stolen information, and it appears that the damage has been limited to the respective websites and one mobile app being knocked offline for a few hours.
Related, but not connected, it was learned through a large leak of classified American documents, that Russia has at some point in the past hacked into at least one major Canadian natural gas pipeline operator. The information was revealed to the public through a massive leak of 50-100 classified US documents by an American national guardsman. The leaks primarily centred on the war in Ukraine, but contained a number of bombshells spanning issues all over the globe in addition to the war in Eastern Europe. The leaks have been confirmed to be at least partially legitimate by the United States Department of Defense, although this fact is complicated by the fact that Russian-aligned actors heavily edited many of the documents to paint Russia in a more favourable light.
The Americans have taken ongoing actions to remove any of the documents from the web, and are not confirming the legitimacy of any individual items, so it is not clear which documents contain accurate information and which are edited. The item about Canada seems to be legitimate however, and means that Canada must remain vigilant, even if we do not share a continent with the Russian federation.
Towards that end, the CSE and the Minister of National Defence are putting out a statement today in order to warn the operators of critical infrastructure in particular to ensure all of their systems are secured. The CSE also put out a “cyber-flash” this week, which is sent out to operators of critical systems in Canada, to update them on the ongoing situation this week. Although the damage was minor, the coordination and timing of the attacks is of concern. The situation is ongoing.