Canadians trying to learn about career opportunities with the military instead found themselves staring at the landing page of the Chinese central government’s official web portal after the website forces.ca was apparently hacked Thursday to redirect users to the gov.cn domain.
The recruiting website, registered by the Department of National Defence (DND) in February 2001, redirected users to the Chinese government’s homepage until the error was spotted by DND officials, who took the site offline.
An archived capture of the Canadian Forces website landing page as of Nov. 14, 2016.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the incident was being investigated, but stopped short of labeling it a security breach.
“When something of this nature happens we treat it with real gravity, and we’ll investigate it,” he said according to the Canadian Press. “That process is underway right now, and as soon as we know the facts, we’ll be commenting further on that.”
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Goodale said that it wasn’t immediately known if the information of potential recruits had been compromised.
“Obviously with any breach of a computer system you’re concerned about all dimensions of the information that may be on that system and how it might be either tampered with or contaminated or improperly or illegitimately released,” he said.
The incident comes just days after Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, briefed the House of Commons defence committee about the military’s cyber security operations.
“We have our own organizations and agencies that look after the defence of our networks,” he said Tuesday.
“We are on a 24/7, 365-day basis monitoring and protecting our networks. And continuing to increase our capability through technical means of being able to identify potential intrusions and responses.”
The military’s main website, forces.gc.ca, was operating as usual.
With files from the Canadian Press