CRA loses taxpayer data to Heartbleed bug

Tax agency says 900 social insurance numbers compromised in online privacy breach

The Canada Revenue Agency says the social insurance numbers of 900 taxpayers were stolen last week by someone using the Heartbleed encryption vulnerability before the taxation agency shut down public access to its online services.

It happened over a six-hour period by someone exploiting the vulnerability in many supposedly secure websites that used an open-source encryption system.

The CRA said it will send registered letters to affected taxpayers and will not be emailing them because it doesn’t want fraudsters to use phishing schemes to further exploit the privacy breach.

“I want to express regret to Canadians for this service interruption,” CRA commissioner Andrew Treusch said. “I share the concern and dismay of those individuals whose privacy has been impacted by this malicious act.”

Other personal data and possibly businesses’ information may also have been lost.

“We are currently going through the painstaking process of analyzing other fragments of data, some that may relate to businesses, that were also removed,” Treusch said.

Taxpayers whose data was compromised will get bolstered CRA account protection and free access to credit protection services.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner is also investigating.

Online services, including the E-file and Netfile online income tax portals, were patched and re-launched Sunday after what the CRA called a vigourous test to ensure they are safe and secure.

The CRA cut off access to those services April 8 as word spread that the Heartbleed bug had given hackers access to passwords, credit card numbers and other information at many websites.

People whose income tax filing was delayed by last week’s CRA interruption have been given until May 5 – beyond the usual April 30 filing deadline – to file returns without being penalized.

The Heartbleed vulnerability, which has existed for two years, compromised secure web browsing at some sites despite the display of a closed padlock that indicates an encrypted connection.

Just Posted

Quesnel Kangaroos bounce Prince Rupert Rampage

Alessio Tomassetti gets four points in 8-4 shootout win at West Fraser Centre

Alzheimer Society of B.C. creates provincial dementia helpline

No one should have to face the journey alone, says organization

Column: report card for professional reliance experiment

Columnist Jim Hilton on a recent Environmental Law Centre review

Local Toastmasters club improves confidence, leadership skills

The meetings take place every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at CNC

Letter: ignore the hype and vote

“Claims made by either side are often entirely contradictory. Who do you trust?”

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read