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

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Gil’s Girls win Harvey Walkus Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament in shootout

This year the tournament was held at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena on April 12-14.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read