Canada’s anti-money laundering agency hit by a cyber attack

Canada’s national anti-money laundering agency has been hit by a cyber attack.

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) said Tuesday that over the last 24 hours it has been managing a cyber incident. “The incident does not involve the centre’s intelligence or classified systems,” it said in a statement.

“As a precautionary measure, FINTRAC has taken its corporate systems offline in order to ensure their integrity and to protect the information that the centre maintains.

“FINTRAC is working closely with its federal partners, including the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, to protect and restore its systems.”

There were no details on the type or depth of attack the agency is facing.

FINTRAC helps detect, prevent, and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under its control.

It works with law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies around the world, so even unclassified documents and email could be of interest to threat actors. For example, in its most recent annual report, FINTRAC noted that in 2022 it helped police in Alberta with Project Cobra, which resulted in the seizure of 928 kg of methamphetamine and 6 kg of cocaine. As a result, 80 charges were laid against 15 people, including laundering the proceeds of crime, participation in a criminal organization, and drug trafficking. That year it also helped the RCMP investigate charges related to over $1 million in fraudulent funds obtained through the Canada Small Business Financing Program. In January 2023, FINTRAC helped launch Project Anton, a first-of-its-kind international public-private partnership aimed at increasing awareness of illegal wildlife trade and improving the detection of the laundering of proceeds from this crime.

Within Canada, FINTRAC provides financial intelligence to police and national security agencies to help them combat money laundering, terrorist activity financing, and threats to the security of Canada.

Outside the country, it works with similar bodies. For example, FINTRAC is a member of the Russia-Related Sanctions and Illicit Finance Financial Intelligence Units Working Group.

The agency reports to the Minister of Finance. Among its responsibilities is enforcing the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. A wide-range of businesses have to report to FINTRAC, including federally regulated financial institutions,  credit unions, life insurance companies and brokers, casinos, accountants, mortgage administrators, and real estate brokers, about certain transactions and activities. These include reporting suspicious and large cash or large virtual currency transactions within 24 hours.

It has the power to issue administrative monetary penalties to reporting entities that are found to be non-compliant with the act and associated regulations.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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