The website for the Canadian Armed Forces was temporarily disabled on Wednesday, as pro-India hackers took responsibility for the cyberattack.
In a statement to The Globe and Mail, Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media relations at the Department of National Defence, said the “disruption” started at about noon, “but was rectified later that afternoon.” Some desktop users could still access the website, while most mobile devices could not.
The incident occurred on a site that is “separate and isolated” from the Government of Canada and the Department of National Defence’s public websites and internal networks, Mr. Le Bouthillier said. “We have no indication of broader impacts to our systems,” he added, without providing further details.
The Canadian Forces – which represent all military operations for Canada, including the navy, special command groups, air, and space operations – are investigating the issue, Mr. Le Bouthillier said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Indian Cyber Force, a group of hackers that have been roused this month by geopolitical tensions, claimed responsibility for this incident.
In posts made on the messaging app Telegram, and X, the social-media platform formerly known as Twitter, the Indian Cyber Force shared screenshots of the Canadian military website being taken down. The pro-India group had claimed the breach would last two hours, which it did.
Last week, Canada’s intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment, warned information and technology administrators in this country to be vigilant of an increase in cyberattacks. “CSE and its Canadian Centre for Cyber Security have observed that geopolitical events often result in an increase in disruptive cyber campaigns,” the agency noted.
Prior to that warning, the Indian Cyber Force had threatened Canada on Sept. 20, stating on social media to “get ready to feel the power” of its attacks on Canadian cyberspace in the coming days. On Sept. 22, the group said it believed the Canadian government’s “allegations and anti-India politics really crossed the limits.”
Diplomatic relations between India and Canada have been strained after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investigation into allegations that Indian government agents had a role in the killing of a Canadian citizen and prominent Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia. India has denied any involvement and dismissed the claims.