OTTAWA - A cyber attack on a major player in Canada's energy industry is "extremely serious," says a former Canadian diplomat who specializes in Chinese crime and espionage.
"Canadians just don't want to take this seriously," Brian McAdam said. "In essence, it's an electronic war that's going on. And this company is bringing to our attention that China could shut down the energy resources of any country in the world with this sort of thing going on."
Telvent Canada confirmed the cyber attack in a statement sent to QMI Agency on Thursday, but wouldn't provide many details.
"Telvent is aware of a security breach of its corporate network that has affected some customer files," said a spokesman for Schneider Electric, Telvent Canada's parent company.
"Customers have been informed and are taking recommended actions, with the support of Telvent teams. Telvent is actively working with law enforcement, security specialists and its affected customers to ensure the breach has been contained."
Telvent's information technology services help manage 60% of all oil and gas pipelines in North America and Latin America and began warning its customers earlier this month about the attack.
U.S. journalist and cybercrime blogger Brian Kreb first reported on the breach — which some experts have linked to Chinese hackers — after obtaining a letter Telvent Canada sent to its customers on Sept. 10 detailing the attack on its internal firewall and security systems.
Hackers don't just target Canadian industry.
In early 2011, foreign hackers — using China-based servers — targeted the Treasury Board and Finance Canada seeking financial data.
In a recent report, Canada's spy agency noted the federal government is now targeted by "serious attempts to penetrate its networks on a daily basis."
The CSIS report also warned of the prevalence of cyber espionage in the oil and gas, hi-tech and aerospace sectors.