Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Dry breach ;security at Global Affairs Canada

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Personal data and emails of employees were potentially exposed during a month.

Radio-Canada

Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate a spoken text from a written text.

Global Affairs Canada is investigating a security breach that potentially exposed the personal data and emails of several of its employees for a little over a month.

This flaw was spotted following the detection of malicious cyber activity affecting the internal network used by Global Affairs Canada staff, according to internal department emails viewed by CBC News.

The flaw affects at least two internal drives, as well as the emails, calendars and contacts of many staff members.

CBC News spoke to several sources with knowledge of the situation, including employees who have received instructions on how the breach affects their ability to work. As of last Wednesday, some were asked to stop working remotely.

In addition, CBC News has seen three internal emails sent to Business staff global. Work is ongoing, but initial results suggest many [Global Affairs Canada] users may have been affected, one of the messages said.

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Another email reported that internal systems were vulnerable between December 20, 2023 and January 24, 2024. It informed anyone who logged in remotely using a SIGNET (Network) laptop secure integrated global) that his information could be vulnerable.

It is unclear whether any secret information was lost during this breach, which lasted more than a month.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">A breach of this duration is bound to be serious, says Wesley Wark, a national security expert at the University of Ottawa.

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Wesley Wark, national security expert at the University of Ottawa

Global Affairs Canada holds a lot of classified and sensitive information… It's a natural target for hacking.

A quote from Wesley Wark, national security expert at the University of ;Ottawa

Diplomatic cables are sent using an encrypted system, but a source told CBC News that some drafts of sensitive messages and other information may have been stored on the affected drives .

We know this information may be unsettling for many of you, the email sent to staff said. This is an evolving situation and further information and advice will continue to be shared as quickly as possible.

The email offers suggestions on how to protect sensitive information and encourages employees to monitor their bank accounts for unauthorized activity.

In the meantime, some Canada-based Global Affairs employees with security clearance are unable to work from home.

This is not a permanent change to the hybrid work model, but simply a temporary situation until this crisis passes, the email states.

A senior diplomatic source told CBC News that on several occasions over the past year, staff have been asked to immediately change the words password or restart the software.

In a written statement, the department says on-site employee connectivity in Global Affairs Canada buildings is fully functioning, allowing normal access to computers and the network.

According to Global Affairs, employees working remotely in the country have been provided with workarounds to ensure they remain operational.

The ministry confirms that there was a data breach and unauthorized access to users' personal information.

The Office Privacy Commissioner of Canada has been informed of the situation, the department said.

Based on a report by Kate McKenna and Philip Ling, CBC News

With information from CBC

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