Canadian government web sites hacked in cyber attack

Several Canadian government websites and servers have been brought back online after they were taken down for several hours in a cyber-attack on Wednesday.

Tony Clement, the cabinet minister responsible for the Treasury Board, said that he did not know whether any data had been taken. Hacking group Anonymous took responsibility for the attack, in a video posted online, in what it said was retaliation for a new anti-terrorism law passed by Canada’s lawmakers.

The government said the attack also affected email, internet access and information technology assets. “We are working very diligently to restore services and to find out the origination of the attack,” Clement said. According to media reports, the websites went down around midday (04:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

In the video posted on Youtube, the informal online activist group known as Anonymous said the anti-terrorism law, recently passed by the Canadian State, violated human rights and targeted people who disagree with the government.

Bill C-51, or the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, would broaden the mandate of Canada's spy agency Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), giving the agency new powers to disrupt perceived security threats. The legislation, once enacted by the government, would also make it easier for federal agencies to increase surveillance and share information about individuals.

A computer-generated voice said the bill is a clear violation of the universal declaration of human rights. “Bill C-51 targets minority groups and dissidents alike,” the voice said in the video. Bill C-51 was passed by the House of Commons in May and by the Senate on 10 June.

Clement told reporters that the attack was a Dynamic Denial of Service (DDOS), a common type of web attack that involves overloading a web server with too many requests. Some of the sites that were attacked including the general website for government services,, as well as the CSIS site were restored around 15:00 local time.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney denounced the cyber-attacks, telling reporters that there were many other democratic ways for Canadians to express their views. He also said the government was implementing efforts to improve its cyber security.

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