House of Commons says data theft warning a 'miscommunication'

A strongly-worded warning Friday that cyberattacks on House of Commons employees had resulted "in the theft of large volumes of personal data" was a miscommunication, a spokesperson from the Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons told CBC News.

Notice of 'theft of large volumes of personal data' incorrect, says Speaker's office

A strongly-worded warning Friday that cyberattacks on House of Commons employees had resulted "in the theft of large volumes of personal data" was a miscommunication, a spokeswoman from the Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons told CBC News.

"We are aware that there have been recent cyberattacks in the public sector, and while attempts have been made on House of Commons accounts, there is no evidence that the theft of personal data has occurred," spokeswoman Heather Bradley said in an email Friday.

"The House of Commons has a comprehensive cyber security program in place to protect its network and accounts."

At about 9 a.m. ET, the House of Commons had issued an email warning to about 1,500 employees to be wary of suspicious emails and requests for personal information.

"Private and public sector employees, including House of Commons employees, are currently being targeted by several cyberattacks, resulting in the theft of large volumes of personal data," the email stated.

A second email clarifying that "there is no evidence that the theft of personal data has occurred" went out to employees at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Hackers have stolen information from government departments in recent years, including from the National Research Council and Canada Revenue Agency. Cyberattacks have also forced government departments to shut down public online services and employees' access to the internet for a time.

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