Canadian Potash Company Data Target of Hackers, Citizen Says

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Saskatchewan’s potash producers were targets of a cyber attack in January that resulted in the theft of classified federal data, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

Foreign hackers seeking information about potash producers gained access to the Canadian Finance Department and Treasury Board computer networks by masquerading online as an aboriginal group, the Citizen said, citing a “security-intelligence source” familiar with the case. They managed to install spy malware and download government secrets, the report said.

The attacks are “widely believed” to have been conducted with the use of China-based servers, the Citizen said, adding that the Chinese government denies involvement. Finance Department and Treasury Board spokeswomen declined to comment on the matter yesterday, the newspaper reported.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in February that cyber-security was a growing issue for the government. He declined to comment at the time on a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. report that foreign hackers had targeted government computers.

To contact the reporter for this story: Frederic Tomesco in Montreal at tomesco@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net