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Governor General's office investigating internal network breach


OTTAWA — The Office of the Secretary to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon has confirmed its internal network was breached through unauthorized access.

In a statement Thursday, the office said it is working with experts and "pursuing further network improvements" as needed and that the nature and scope of the breach is still being investigated.

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is involved in the investigation and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General said it acted immediately to "strengthen its network."

The centre leads the Canadian government's response to cybersecurity events and works to protect and defend cyber assets of value in the country.

While the centre confirmed in a statement it is working with the office in response to a recent cyber incident, it was unable to comment on specific details.

"Although this investigation is ongoing we can assure you that we are working closely with OSGG to ensure there are robust systems and tools in place to monitor, detect, and investigate potential threats, and to neutralize threats when they occur," the centre said.

Along with other governments and private sector organizations in the world, the Canadian government is subject to "ongoing and persistent cyber threats," said the centre. 

The centre added that cyber threats can derive from system or application vulnerabilities, as well as "deliberate, persistent and targeted attacks by outside actors to gain access to information."

The office said that personal information of "all who work and interact with" it is a priority.

The privacy commissioner's office has also been told of the breach.

Vito Pilieci, a spokesman for the privacy commissioner, said in an email Thursday that it doesn't have jurisdiction over the Governor General's office because it is not subject to the Privacy Act.

However, they "welcome the opportunity to engage with the Governor General's office and to offer any support and advice they request," Pilieci said.

Ian McCowan became secretary to the Governor General in February 2021. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2021.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

— With files from Jim Bronskill.

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press