UPDATE 2-In rare move, Canada accuses Chinese of trying to hack govt network

Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:31am EDT
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(Releads with Canadian protest, adds details, background)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, July 29 (Reuters) - Canada on Tuesday took the unusual step of singling out Chinese hackers for attacking a key computer network and lodged a protest with Beijing, raising tensions at a time when Ottawa wants to boost oil sales to China.

Officials said "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" had recently broken into the National Research Council. The council, the government's leading research body, works with major firms such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier Inc..

Canada has reported hacking incidents before but this was the first time it had singled out China.

China is often cited as a suspect in various hacking attacks on companies in the United States and other nations. Beijing routinely dismisses such allegations.

Foreign Minister John Baird had "a full and frank exchange of views" about the case with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, said an official.

"The government takes this issue very seriously and we are addressing it at the highest levels in both Beijing and Ottawa," said Baird spokesman Adam Hodge.

Corinne Charette, Canada's chief government information officer, said that although NRC computers did not operate within the overall government system, they had been isolated as a precautionary measure.   Continued...