The world's most iconic police force has been hit by a cyberattack that took its website offline

An abstract image of padlocks overlaying a digital background.
(Image credit: Shutterstock) (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The iconic Canadian national police force, also known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), suffered a recent data breach which temporarily knocked its website offline - but its operations, as well as citizens, should not be affected by the incident, it said.

CBC says the RCMP sent a breach notification letter to its employees following the attack, explaining what had happened, with a spokesperson for the law enforcement organization confirming the news to media shortly afterwards.

"The situation is evolving quickly but at this time, there is no impact on RCMP operations and no known threat to the safety and security of Canadians," the RCMP spokesperson said.

Missing details

"While a breach of this magnitude is alarming, the quick work and mitigation strategies put in place demonstrate the significant steps the RCMP has taken to detect and prevent these types of threats."

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) was reportedly notified of the attack, which knocked the RCMP website offline, but was already up and running again by press time.

Other details are not known at this time, but this could very well be a ransomware attack - possibly even LockBit, given that the group promised retaliation against law enforcement, for the disruption it experienced last week. 

More than two dozen servers, plenty of stolen data, and a number of encryptors were seized recently during an international effort against LockBit, dubbed Operation Cronos.

Initial reports state that data on police investigations, as well as on Canadian citizens, is secure. However, data on RCMP employees could still have been compromised, and later used for blackmail or advanced spear-phishing attacks.

Usually, ransomware operators refrain from targeting critical infrastructure organizations, healthcare firms, or law enforcement, as this allows them to remain undetected for longer and avoid becoming a target themselves.

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.