Pro-Russian group claims responsibility for cyberattack against Hydro-Québec
Attacks are retribution for Canada's support for Ukraine, expert says
A pro-Russian hacking group has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack against Quebec's state-owned electricity provider.
Hydro-Québec said on Thursday it was working to try to get its website up and running again following the cyberattack.
The province's power utility says it was hit with a denial-of-service attack at approximately 3 a.m. ET.
As a result, Hydro-Québec's website, app and Info-Panne website for verifying power outages went offline.
Denial-of-service attacks flood the target website with traffic, triggering a crash.
"No critical Hydro-Québec systems were attacked and users' personal data was not compromised," said Philippe Archambault, head of media and government affairs for the utility.
He said the cybersecurity team is working on restoring service.
Earlier this week, several Canadian ports including in Montreal had their websites go down in similar manners.
On social media, a pro-Russian hacking group known as NoName057(16) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
"We continue our visits to Canada," read a post in the group's Telegram chatroom. "We shut down the website of the company Hydro-Québec, responsible for the production and transportation of electricity in Quebec."
Steve Waterhouse, a cybersecurity expert and information security lecturer at Université de Sherbrooke, said chatter in online hacking communities indicated the group was offering money to anyone who could take down a Canadian government-affiliated website because of Canada's support for Ukraine.
In recent weeks, cyberattacks had downed websites in France and Japan. Now, Waterhouse said, Canada is the latest target. But he said the attacks were rudimentary and, ostensibly, not able to access protected data.
"This is not a case of hacking and getting access to the information at the back end, at least not at this time, not with this type of tech," Waterhouse said.
"It's really just to protest against Canada's involvement with Ukraine."