Anonymous Strikes Again: Canadian Government Experiences Security Breach

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The infamous hacker group “Anonymous” reportedly conducted an attack against the Canadian government on Wednesday. This attack made multiple government websites go dark, including and the websites for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Transport Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Justice Canada. This hack was supposedly in protest against the government’s controversial new security legislation. Bill C-51, or the Anti-terrorism Act, that would broaden the mandate of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Exact ramifications of the attack are unknown, but it’s almost certainly the latest in a string of efforts by Anonymous to protest increased surveillance in various nations.

The act would give the agency new powers to disrupt perceived security threats and make it easier for federal agencies to increase surveillance and share information about individuals. Anonymous believes that this bill is not in its favor, stating as much in a video posted on YouTube. The video said the anti-terrorism law violated human rights and targeted people who disagree with the government, saying:

A bill which is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as removing our legal protections enshrined in the Magna Carta for 800 years. Perhaps it was fate that the day the Magna Carta arrived in our country to go on display to the populace that our corrupt government was symbolically pissing upon it and us all.

Soon after the hack,  Twitter user @Blakeando10 took credit for the cyberattack. He is pictured on his account as wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, which is usually associated with an act of this sort committed by Anonymous.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement confirmed that the government’s servers were hit with a denial of service attack. “I can tell you, I’ve just been through a briefing on it. There has been an attack on Government of Canada servers, GC servers. It is as a result of a, of a — what we would call a cyberattack,” he said. By 3 PM, most of the websites were back online, although exact damage was still unknown. Liberal Defense critic, Joyce Murray, believes that this cyber attack should be a wake-up call for the Canadian government. Nadeem Douba, who has previously advised governments on security issues, told iPolitics the hack was not a very sophisticated one.

It definitely is more about optics than anything else. If we were looking at a denial of service attack similar in nature to StuxNet, where critical infrastructure was impacted, then I would consider it more of a security threat. The same could be said if the attack were able to create any kind of political unrest or economic instability. However, as far as we know now, this attack is more of a nuisance than anything else.

Government websites should be some of the most secure in the world. There is no reason why a group of people should be capable of hacking into them, especially if these sites hold valuable information. Steven Blaney, the public safety minister, criticized the cyber-attackers, telling reporters that there were many other more democratic ways for Canadians to express their views. Blaney also said the government is implementing efforts to improve its cyber security. Hopefully that’s not too little, too late.

Taelor Bentley
Taelor is a member of the Hampton University Class of 2017 and was a Law Street Media Fellow for the Summer of 2015. Contact Taelor at



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