World Bulletin/News Desk
Canada on Tuesday took the unusual step of singling out Chinese hackers for attacking a key computer network and lodged a protest with Beijing, raising tensions at a time when Ottawa wants to boost oil sales to China.
Officials said "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" had recently broken into the National Research Council. The council, the government's leading research body, works with major companies such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier Inc.
Corinne Charette, Canada's chief government information officer, said that although research council computers did not operate within the overall government system, they had been isolated as a precautionary measure.
"We have no evidence that data compromises have occurred on the broader government of Canada network," she said in a statement.
Separately, the council said it was working to set up a new secure network, which could take as long a year to build.
"It is neither professional nor responsible to make groundless speculations and accusations on cyber attacks for various purposes," he said.
In 2011, hackers broke into computer systems at the finance ministry and other government departments. The Conservatives denied to comment on allegations that China was responsible.
The latest annual report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency devotes a section to cyber security but does not mention China. Neither does Canada's official cyber security strategy.
Other nations have been less shy. The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a Chinese businessman with hacking into the computer systems of Boeing and other companies.