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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s COVID-19 case count exceeds 1,800

About 800 new cases in September

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, arrested last December in California in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is next due in court on Nov. 12. (File photos)
Notorious South Surrey fugitive returns to court Nov. 12

Brandon Teixeira was arrested last December in California

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Maple Meadows Station’s new Bike Parkade. TransLink photo
TransLink to remove abandoned or discarded bicycles from bike parkades

Rules at TransLink bike parkades ask customers to use facilities for single day use only

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read