Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks next to the Watermark sculpture along the St. John River in Fredericton, New Brunswick on Thursday August 15, 2019. (Stephen MacGillivray/The Canadian Press)

Conservatives press Trudeau on alleged Chinese role in hack of Canadian data

The Equifax breach involved the information of about 19,000 Canadians

The Conservatives want to know what federal officials are doing about China’s alleged involvement in stealing data from thousands of Canadians.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, two Conservative MPs say it is extremely worrisome that members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army stand accused of the high-profile 2017 hack of Equifax.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that a federal grand jury had returned an indictment charging four members of the PLA with hacking into the credit-reporting agency’s computer systems and stealing data and trade secrets.

The nine-count indictment alleges the four were members of the PLA’s 54th Research Institute, a wing of the Chinese military.

Hackers accessed the personal information of 145.5 million Americans and hundreds of thousands of Britons in the incident.

The breach also involved the information of about 19,000 Canadians, including names, addresses, social-insurance numbers and credit-card numbers as well as usernames, passwords and security-question data.

Pierre Paul-Hus and Glen Motz, the Conservative public safety critics, want Trudeau to explain what Canada will do to ensure those who pilfered Canadians’ data are brought to justice.

“If this charge is proven in court, it would mean that the PLA conducted a deliberate, state-sponsored, cyberattack against Canadians, in order to steal their personal information,” the letter says.

“In a digital age, Canadians must be assured that their personal information will be safe, and that the Canadian government will protect them from foreign actors that engage in hacking, espionage and other cybercrimes to collect this information.”

The MPs are asking whether Canada has investigated the alleged PLA link to the cyberattack and if it will charge Chinese members in connection with the incident.

The Prime Minister’s Office referred an inquiry to the office of Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

The Equifax data compromise took place on American servers and has been investigated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Blair. The RCMP works closely with law-enforcement partners internationally, she added.

The Liberal government has put hundreds of millions of dollars toward the federal Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and the RCMP’s National Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit, Power noted.

ALSO READ: Human rights, cyber security to be part of Canada-China free trade consultations

Federal advisers have told Trudeau that Canada will work with allies to strike back at foreign cyberattackers and “impose costs” that make them understand the price of their deeds.

“Malicious state-sponsored cyber acts affect national security and economic prosperity interests,” says a recently released briefing note to the prime minister. “Addressing these threats requires both better security at home and co-ordinated international actions.”

Rules and norms in cyberspace are critical, but must be supplemented with measures against hostile actors, says the note, obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act.

Canada and its allies consider malicious cyberactivities to be a major threat and believe perpetrators will change their behaviour “only when the costs outweigh the benefits,” the note adds.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

hackers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Talks with hereditary chiefs run into the night

Ministers expected to make statement Saturday morning

Enviroment Canada has issued a snow fall warning for Burns Lake

Enviroment Canada has issued a snow fall warning for the Burns Lake… Continue reading

Mohawks propose temporary Indigenous police for Wet’suwet’en territory

The RCMP has already committed to ending patrols along a critical roadway

Talks with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs enter second day

Federal and provincial ministers ready to extend discussions

Ride Burns rolls out three year plan

Ride Burns President, Patti Dube, was present at Feb. 18 council meeting.… Continue reading

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read