Canada’s financial watchdog targeted in cyber attack – IT World Canada

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  • Canada’s national anti-money laundering agency, FINTRAC, has been hit by a cyber attack.
  • The agency has taken its corporate systems offline to protect information and is working with federal partners to restore its systems.

Canada’s national anti-money laundering agency, FINTRAC, has been the target of a cyber attack, causing the agency to manage a cyber incident over the last 24 hours. The attack does not involve the centre’s intelligence or classified systems, but as a precautionary measure, FINTRAC has taken its corporate systems offline to protect information and ensure the integrity of its systems. The agency is working closely with federal partners, including the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, to protect and restore its systems.

FINTRAC plays a crucial role in detecting, preventing, and deterring money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, as well as protecting personal information under its control. The agency collaborates with law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies globally, making even unclassified documents and emails potential targets for threat actors.

For example, in recent years, FINTRAC has been involved in aiding police investigations such as Project Cobra, resulting in significant drug seizures and charges related to money laundering. The agency also launched Project Anton, an international partnership aimed at combating illegal wildlife trade and improving the detection of money laundering from this crime.

Within Canada, FINTRAC provides financial intelligence to law enforcement and national security agencies, while also working with similar bodies outside the country. The agency is responsible for enforcing the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, overseeing a wide range of businesses that report certain transactions and activities to FINTRAC. This includes reporting suspicious and large cash or virtual currency transactions within 24 hours and issuing penalties for non-compliance.

The cyber attack on FINTRAC highlights the critical role of cybersecurity in protecting sensitive financial and personal information, as well as the need for agencies to remain vigilant and collaborate with partners to mitigate cyber threats.

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