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Canada Shuts Electronic Tax Filing on Computer Security

Canada’s government has temporarily closed its online tax services as it investigates a security flaw affecting Internet services worldwide.

The Canada Revenue Agency said the move is a pre-emptive measure to protect the privacy of tax filers, according to a statement released today.

“This is international virus and we’re trying to get to the bottom of it,” Finance Minister Joe Oliver told reporters today.

Researchers have already pushed out a fix for a security flaw that affects as many as two-thirds of all Internet servers and could let hackers intercept encrypted traffic including e-mail messages, banking information, user names and passwords. The vulnerability has been dubbed Heartbleed.

“We are currently working on a remedy for restoring online services and, at this time, anticipate that services will resume over the weekend,” the revenue ministry said in a statement issued later in the day.

The Internal Revenue Service issued a statement today saying the U.S. was continuing to accept tax returns as normal, and that its computer systems aren’t affected.

To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at targitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Badertscher at pbadertscher@bloomberg.net Chris Fournier

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