* Hackers hit Finance Department, Treasury Board - CBC
* No data relating to Canadians compromised - official
(Adds details, background)
OTTAWA, Feb 16 The Canadian government was hit
by an unprecedented cyber attack from Chinese-based computers
last month that penetrated two key economic ministries, the
Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported on Wednesday.
The CBC cited sources as saying the hackers broke into
computer systems at the Finance Department and Treasury Board.
Once the attack was detected, Internet access in both
ministries was cut off.
The Finance Department is preparing the federal budget,
which will be delivered next month.
The CBC said the hackers had apparently managed to take
control of computers in the offices of senior government
executives as part of a scheme to steal the passwords that
unlock entire government data systems.
A spokesman for Treasury Board Minister Stockwell Day said
officials had detected an unauthorized attempt to access the
ministry's computer networks.
"There are no indications that any data relating to
Canadians was compromised," he said in an e-mail. He did not
say whether the attacks had been traced back to Chinese
servers, as the CBC reported.
No one from the office of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
responded to a request for comment.
Canada's spy service complains regularly about what it says
is industrial espionage by China and other states.
Last year, search giant Google Inc (GOOG.O) threatened to
quit China's market amid charges of hacking and censorship.
In 2009, The Wall Street Journal said cyber spies who
appeared to be based in China had breached the Pentagon's Joint
Strike Fighter project.
The CBC story comes at an awkward time for Canada's
minority Conservative government, which has markedly toned down
its criticism of China's human rights record as it tries to
boost bilateral trade ties.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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