Canada Says ‘Anonymous’ May Attack Energy Firm Computers

CANADA — Canadian security agencies have warned energy companies such as Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO) their computers may be attacked by the Anonymous hacker group because of the industry’s work developing Alberta’s oil sands, government documents show.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, public safety department and Communications Security Establishment Canada all investigated threats against the industry between the start of 2011 and mid-March, according to documents obtained this month by Bloomberg News under freedom of information laws. The RCMP conducted a threat assessment after the hacker group that calls itself Anonymous issued a press release in July 2011 accusing oil-sands companies of being greedy and harming the environment.

“The Canadian law enforcement and security intelligence community have noted a growing radicalized environmentalist faction who is opposed to Canada’s energy sector,” the RCMP’s assessment said. “Corporate security officers should verify that security testing has been performed on public facing web servers and mail servers.”

The hackers are attracted to high-profile projects such as TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would ship Alberta crude to the U.S., said Thomas Dean, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Queen’s University.

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