The Canadian government has been hacking organisations, stealing others’ data, and even destroying network infrastructure, according to a new report. The country reportedly has a vast arsenal of cyberweaponry along with plans to increase its covert hacking program this year.
The Canadian surveillance agency the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) is capable of “stealing data and destroying adversaries’ infrastructure,” writes The Intercept in collaboration with CBC News.
The documents mention numerous programs aimed at both spying and wreaking havoc on other governments.
- Malware. The CSE has reportedly been building malware to bring down the networks of rival organisations. The malware was developed by the NSA as part of its QUANTUM hacking project. In fact, the NSA and the CSE have been collaborating for quite a while, gaining access and exploiting computer network targets in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Mexico, say the documents.
- Deceiving attacks. The CSE used what are called “deception techniques” to attack networks while making it seem like they came from other organisations. For instance, it directed victims to a fake site, then potentially used that site to “siphon classified information about computer networks.” Additionally, the report says Canada launched attacks to block website traffic, redirect money transfers, and even delete emails.
- Social engineering. The country also used a variety of social engineering methods to destroy other organisations’ reputations. Tactics included faking online poll results, posting fake Facebook messages, and even diffusing “negative information about targets online to damage their reputation.”
- Network targeting. Lastly, the report indicates Canada’s cyber-toolkit targeted specific networks to either garner foreign intelligence or inflict network damage. Targets may have been aimed at “electricity, transportation or banking systems.”
This isn’t the first time the Canada has been fingered for hacking. Earlier reports claim that Canada has a vast computer and smartphone surveillance program that once targeted Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministries.
Ronald Deibert, Director of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, told CBC News that this should serve as a “major wakeup call for all Canadians.”
The CSE would not comment on any specific allegations but issued a statement saying: “The leaked materials are dated documents, and some explored possible ideas to better protect the Government of Canada’s information systems while also seeking cost efficiencies. As a result, information in these documents does not necessarily reflect current CSE practices or programs, or the degree to which CSE has visibility into global or Canadian infrastructures.”
The NSA has yet to issue a formal response.
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