#CyberFLASH: Federal departments faced serious cyber security breaches last year

Digital Life Tech Tips Double Layer PasswordsFederal departments faced serious cyber-security breaches months before a high-profile hack forced the shutdown of systems at one of the country’s most important research organizations.

Documents obtained by the Citizen show that even before hackers were found in July to have broken into the National Research Council’s network, federal systems may have been compromised multiple times – in some cases so badly that the affected departments couldn’t rebound without the help of Shared Services Canada, the government’s super-IT department.

The documents obtained by the Citizen under the access to information law don’t make it clear how significant the breaches were, nor how successful the hackers were in each attack.

What the documents do show is that the security incident response team, known as IT-SIRT for short, was involved in a number of “potentially critical or extensive compromises” between January and March of 2014, according to an undated briefing note sent to the president of Shared Services Canada. The actual number of incidents has been redacted from the document, with the department citing security concerns for not releasing the information.

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