Calgary

Anonymous hack of federal government a warning, says Tom Keenan

Federal government websites took a hit yesterday, with the hacker collective Anonymous claiming responsibility for the attack. Computer security expert Tom Keenan says the government needs to tighten security.

Collective claims responsibility, threatens more action in response to Bill C-51

Tom Keenan says Wednesday's attack on federal government websites is a wake-up call for those in charge of the country's digital infrastructure. (CBC)

The hacker collective Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack on federal government websites Wednesday. 

"It's always serious when a website is attacked, because it means somebody has taken power over you," said Tom Keenan, a professor at the University of Calgary and the author of Technocreep.

The collective Anonymous, as is its custom, posted a YouTube video saying the denial of service attack — which floods a website with traffic to shut it down — was in response to the passage of Bill C-51. That cyber security bill has been heavily criticized for violating privacy and giving increased powers to Canada's spy agencies.

No personal information was stolen in the attack, and Keenan says it appears the group, if they are in fact responsible, was seeking attention.

"If Anonymous posted a YouTube video, as they did, who's going to look at it? A few people. If you take down all the Canadian government websites and call attention to it and everyone does news stories on it, you have a built-in audience for your YouTube video," he said.

Keenan says this is a wake-up call for those in charge of Canada's digital infrastructure and he imagines they're scrambling to shore up defences ahead of June 20, billed as a day of action in the Anonymous YouTube video.

Online hacker group says the cyberattack was protest over Ottawa's anti-terror Bill C-51 2:54

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now