The CRA, or Canada Revenue Agency, is the victim of the latest cyberattack. On August 15, the agency confirmed that it was hit by two cyberattacks which affected thousands of online user accounts.
In response to the attacks, the Canada Revenue Agency has temporarily shut down its online services, making it impossible for anyone to apply for emergency COVID-19 benefits like CERB until further notice.
Who is Affected
A total of 5,500 accounts had been identified as being affected by the two attacks. Since the announcement, the CRA has disabled these affected accounts to ensure the safety and security of the accounts’ information. You can find the latest updates on the cyberattack here.
Other services related to the CRA’s online portal including My Account, My Business Account and Represent a Client have been shut off as a precautionary measure to protect any sensitive private information.
The admission of a cyberattack came after CBC News noticed a pattern of similar hacks occurring over the past two weeks where Canadians reported that the information associated with their CRA accounts had been changed by an unknown third party. Some of the information include their direct deposit information, email addresses, and CERB payment applications made in their name when they did not apply to the program.
How To Know if You Are Affected
Most people affected by the breach were first alerted when they received legitimate emails from the CRA stating that the email addresses associated with their account had been discontinued.
To check if your account has been affected, look through your emails to see if you have received any notices from the CRA about any activities in your account such as change of email addresses, applications for CERB benefits which you did not apply for, or changes to your bank account information.
Check out similar stories such as this, a Port Coquitlam woman who’s bank information was hacked and changed with the CRA, and a fraudulent CERB benefits application was made in her name. In this case, the woman caught the change in time and managed to re-direct the CERB payments back to her bank account in time, but is now at a loss over what to do with two CERB payments which she did not apply for.
How You Can Protect Your Online Accounts
Believe it or not, one of the easiest ways hackers can gain entry into your online accounts is via data breaches. If your account information has been breached during a previous data breach, it’s important to change your password right away.
If you use the same password for all your online accounts, then you are at high risk of being hacked. Click to check if you are using one of the worst passwords in 2019 here.
Additionally, if an online account allows you to have username other than your email address, consider using a more complex username that doesn’t contain any personal information. Similarly to your passwords, it’s a good idea to have different usernames for all your online accounts to make it more difficult for hackers to guess your login credentials.
With a few basic precautions like these, you can save yourself the headache of having an important account hacked.