Skip to main content

Cyber security officials urge 'vigilance' against threats as Zelenskyy visits Canada

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Canada, top security officials are re-issuing a call to "adopt a heightened state of vigilance, and to bolster … awareness of and protection against malicious cyber threats."

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) emphasized the call especially for operators of government and critical infrastructure websites.

"As previously noted, we have observed that it's not uncommon to see increased distributed denial of service (DDoS) campaigns against NATO countries that support Ukraine, or host visits from Ukrainian government officials," the CSE said in a release published Friday.

Zelenskyy is in Canada to address Parliament Friday in his first visit to Ottawa since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The House of Commons changed its sitting plans for the occasion, seeing the chamber floor opened to Senators, and other dignitaries who will pack in to the viewing galleries above.

The Cyber Centre says Canadian organizations should visit its website to learn more about DDoS attacks and how to deal with them.

DDoS attacks are when an adversary overwhelms a server to deny access to others, but in the process the site is not hacked into. Since earlier this week, there has been a "persistent" attempt to disrupt federal government sites, as well as those in Canadian finance, transportation and energy sectors, according to CSE.

The CSE and the Cyber Centre say they are working closely with other government agencies to "neutralize threats when they occur."

The CSE added Canada and its agencies, like all countries and organizations, are always subject to ongoing cyber threats and work every day to defend against them.

"On any given day, CSE's defensive systems can block upwards of six billion events targeting GC networks. These defensive actions are a result of CSE’s existing dynamic cyber defence capabilities which remain ready to defend Government of Canada systems and help protect against future attacks."


In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said attempts to bring down Canadian government infrastructure by Russian hackers will "in no way" dissuade Canada's unwavering support for Ukraine.

Trudeau made those comments, appearing with the Ukrainian prime minister, after a cyber attack brought down the prime ministerial website for a brief time.

"In case anyone was wondering, Russia being able to bring down an official Government of Canada webpage for a few hours, is in no way going to dissuade us from our unshakeable support of Ukraine," Trudeau said.

A day prior, a handful of other government websites also failed to load, with a so-called "hactivist" group purporting to be behind what appeared to be DDoS attacks.

At the time, the CSE would not confirm or deny the Russian hacker claims but said it was "aware of reports that some Government of Canada websites have been off line."


Following the disruption of Canadian government websites, the CSE told CTV News Canada saw a "notable rise" in cyber threat activity by Russian-aligned actors.

"These [attacks] are attention-grabbing, but do not mean the website has been hacked or that any information has been compromised," said Sami Khoury, head of the Cyber Centre, during an April briefing on cyber threats to Canada's critical infrastructure.

According to its Cyber Threat Bulletin, the CSE said it expects "medium- and high-sophistication actors will almost certainly continue to target (Canadian government infrastructure) for the next 12 months and beyond." 

--With files from CTV News Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter Rachel Aiello Top Stories

Ontario doctors disciplined over Israel-Gaza protests

A number of doctors are facing scrutiny for publicizing their opinions on the Israel-Hamas war. Critics say expressing their political views could impact patient care, while others say that it is being used as an excuse for censorship.

'No concessions' St-Onge says in $100M a year news deal with Google

The Canadian government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act that will see the tech giant pay $100 million annually to publishers, and continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. This comes after Google had threatened to block news on its platform when the contentious new rules come into effect next month.

Live updates

Live updates Hamas frees 10 Israeli women and children, 4 Thai nationals

Ten Israeli women and children and four Thai nationals held captive in Gaza were freed by Hamas, and Israel followed with the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners Thursday. It was the latest exchange of hostages for prisoners under a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza war. Two Russian-Israeli women were also freed by Hamas in a separate release.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.



W5 George Chuvalo: the boxer nobody could knock down

Canadian boxing great George Chuvalo went blow-for-blow with legends, but it came at a cost. W5's Sandie Rinaldo speaks with Chuvalo's children about the damage that 93 fights did to their father's cognitive health. 'Boom Boom Chuvalo' airs Friday at 10/9 on CTV.

Stay Connected