Canadian government websites and e-mail were temporarily shut down by a cyber attack Wednesday.
The “denial of service” attack interrupted e-mail, Internet access and other government services, said Dave Adamson, the acting Chief Information Officer at the federal Treasury Board.
“We continue to be vigilant in monitoring any potential vulnerabilities,” Adamson said in a written statement published late Wednesday. As of 5 p.m., the government was “working on restoring services as soon as possible.”
E-mail and website outages began around midday. Government “servers have been cyberattacked,” Treasury Board President Tony Clement confirmed on Twitter.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told reporters that, while no personal information was compromised, perpetrators will face prosecution.
“There are no excuses to justify an attack to public property, and those who have committed those attacks will be prosecuted and will have to face the full force of the law,” Blaney said, according to the transcript of a press conference in Ottawa.
A group claiming to be an affiliate of the online hacking collective Anonymous took credit for the attack in a YouTube video. There was no immediate verification and Blaney told reporters he would leave it to law enforcement officials to determine who was responsible.
According to the video, the attack was retribution for Bill C-51, a proposed anti-terrorism law criticized for broadly expanding surveillance and police powers with no new oversight.
The bill “is a clear violation of the universal declaration of human rights,” the video says, calling on opponents of the legislation to stage a June 20 protest.
C-51 has passed the House of Commons and Senate, but is awaiting Royal Assent before becoming law.
Denial of service attacks are typically aimed at crippling websites by flooding them with traffic.