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Group Helping Canada Research How Not to Get Hacked Was Itself Hacked

The attack, claimed by "Don-2", who has already hacked and defaced a websites from China and India, targeted the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada and appears to have vandalized the employer directory site.

by Ben Makuch
Apr 28 2016, 5:35pm

Screenshot of Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada website.

A Canadian non-profit group that has been working with the federal government to research how companies can guard against cyber crimes was itself defaced by an infamous hacker that supports the Islamic State.

The attack, claimed by "Don-2", who has already hacked and defaced a websites from China and India, targeted the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada and appears to have vandalized the employer directory site with messages denouncing Canada's expansion into the Middle East, including in "Shubra" an area in Egypt. Canadian peacekeepers are currently stationed in the Sinai.

The non-profit group confirmed to VICE News the hacked site was not hosted on one of its main domains and the website itself has been taken down temporarily as the investigation is ongoing internally. No data was stolen from ICTC.

The alleged hacker, who recently defaced China's Tsinghua University with terrorist propaganda, also used the audio of a child speaking Arabic to an older individual as the backdrop to the red and black messaging.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) has increasingly been deploying cyber attacks against western targets. Junaid Hussain, a British jihadist-hacker turned IS fighter, grew the militant group's cyber capabilities from Raqqa, Syria before being killed in a US drone strike in 2015.

Canadian military commandos are currently engaged in a large scale training mission of Iraqi Kurdish forces at war with IS militants in northern Iraq and Syria. Canadian military aircraft, mainly F-18s and not the stated "F-16" in Don-2's message claiming the cyber attack, were pulled out of the extensive bombing campaign on IS targets in March.

One source with intimate knowledge of IS social media communication networks says the hack has yet to be claimed by the militant group.

ICTC is working with Public Safety Canada — the government department overseeing top federal police agencies and domestic counterterrorism measures — on a cybersecurity report.

"ICTC is currently undertaking a study in partnership with Public Safety Canada," reads an online statement going over the "Five Things Organizations Should Consider for Smarter Cybersecurity." The study will examine "the impact of cybercrime on critical infrastructures and prepares small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to effectively manage their cyber security strategy."

The non-profit is also partnered with several Canadian companies and governmental organizations including Google Canada, Microsoft Canada, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Follow Ben Makuch on Twitter: @BMakuch