The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) website was temporarily disabled on Wednesday in what is suspected to be a possible cyberattack that a group of pro-India hackers have already claimed responsibility for.
Head of media relations for the Department of National Defence Daniel Le Bouthillier, said that the “disruption” occurred around noon, “but was rectified later that afternoon” in a statement written to The Globe and Mail.
The site was mostly still accessible to desktop users, however those trying to access via their mobile phones could not.
According to Le Bouthillier, the disruption only affected a site that was “separate and isolated” from the Department of National Defence’s internal network.
“We have no indication of broader impacts to our systems,” said Le Bouthillier.
The incident is currently being investigated by the CAF although few details have been released.
On Wednesday, a group of hackers known as the Indian Cyber Force claimed responsibility for this incident via posts made on X.
“Respected world wide authorities and citizens, We have recently seen canada government’s [sic] allegations and anti India politics really crossed the limits,” said the post.
The group, who’s efforts have been invigorated by recent diplomatic tensions between Canada and India, also posted a screenshot of the CAF website being unavailable, writing, “Canadian Airforce Website has been taken down. Duration: 2 hour”
The Communications Security Establishment, a Canadian intelligence agency, issued a warning for information and technology administrators to be on high alert regarding a potential blitz in cyberattacks.
“CSE and its Canadian Centre for Cyber Security have observed that geopolitical events often result in an increase in disruptive cyber campaigns,” wrote the agency.
The warning was likely prompted in lieu of threats first posted to social media by the Indian Cyber Force on Sept. 20, which stated, “Cyber alert for Canada Get ready to feel the power of IndianCyberForce attacks will be launching on Canada cyber space in coming 3 days it’s for the mess your started.”
This cyberattack is just the latest strike in the tit-for-tat exchange between the two countries which began after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the Indian government had a hand in the assassination of Khalistani activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.
The Indian government has denied these allegations and the dispute has led to the expulsions of senior diplomatic officials from both countries, updated travel advisories and the recent halt of visas issued from India to Canadians.
If the situation continues to escalate, the two nations may face a trade war, which some believe will be more detrimental to Canada than to India.