OTTAWA, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Computer hackers operating through China infiltrated Canada's Finance Department and Treasury Board, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Thursday.
Senior unidentified government sources told the CBC evidence of the security lapses emerged last month and was initially traced back to computers in China, although that could be a ruse of routing data traffic through China from elsewhere.
When the security breach was discovered, officials cut off Internet access to the thousands of employees in both departments and it is still not fully restored, the report said.
Security forces were trying to determine if other government departments or ministries were hacked. They said it appeared the cyber-thieves somehow got access to senior government officials and then posed as them to get government technicians to divulge entire network passwords.
The hackers also sent e-mails to employees with attachments that unleashed viral "phishing" data mining programs, the report said.
The attack came despite a warning in June 2009 from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that cyber attacks on government, university and industry computers had been growing significantly.