The online hacker group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on federal government websites, in protest against the recent passing of the government's anti-terror Bill C-51.
"Today, Anons around the world took a stand for your rights," the group wrote Wednesday afternoon in an online post
"Do we trade our privacy for security? Do we bow down and obey what has become totalitarian rule? Don't fool [yourselves]. The Harper regime does not listen to the people, it acts only in [its] best interests."
A number of federal government websites appear to be back online after the brief blackout, including websites for the Senate, the Justice Department and Canada's spy agencies, CSEC and CSIS.
However, it's unclear whether the attacks have stopped, as government websites seem to be flashing on and offline intermittently.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said at no point was personal information or sensitive government compromised.
Attackers have to face 'full force of the law'
"The cyberattack and cyber security is an issue that we take very seriously," Blaney said following question period in the House of Commons.
"We are increasing our resources and polices to be better equipped to face cyberattacks, whether they are coming from hackers from a group, potentially, that has said they did it today, [or] state-sponsored or terrorist entities."
"Let's be clear. We are living in a democracy and there are many ways you can express your views in the country," Blaney said, addressing Anonymous's claim of responsibility.
"There are no excuses to justify an attack to public property and those that have committed those attacks will be prosecuted and will have to face the full force of the law."
Government employees have also reportedly had problems accessing email.
Internet access and "information technology assets" were also affected, according to a statement by Dave Adamson, acting chief information officer at the Treasury Board.
Denial of service attack
The government's servers were hit with a denial of service attack, the statement reads.
Treasury Board president Tony Clement earlier urged users to call 1-800-OCanada for help until full service is restored.
When CBC News phoned this number, the service operator was unaware of the interruption.
"Public Safety and of course Shared Services Canada are working to restore service," said Clement. "But in the meantime, we're working very diligently to restore services as soon as possible and to find out the origination of the attack."
A CBC News query to Shared Services Canada was not immediately answered.