Rebuild of National Research Council systems years late: documents

OTTAWA -- Canada's top scientific agency will be waiting at least two more years for a new computer system to replace the one hackers infiltrated in the summer of 2014 -- and some researchers will have to rely on the old one in the meantime, documents show.

See Full Article

The National Research Council was forced to shut down its computer network in July 2014 after hackers repeatedly made it into systems that house sensitive research, trade secrets and personal information.

Government officials publicly blamed the attack on a highly sophisticated, Chinese state-sponsored player. China strenuously denied what they described as a baseless charge from Canadian officials.

The ensuing 12 months were supposed to have seen a $32.5-million refit of the council's networks, including a rebuilt system and new laptops for council workers as part of the technological upgrade.

The new laptops are in place, as are most enhanced security controls.

In an emailed statement, NRC spokesman Charles Drouin said a "modest investment" in the old system has been the biggest measure taken to get the council back to its usual productivity levels.

Most of the research network has been built, with the last components to be put in place by April, Drouin wrote.

"As with all networks, there will be a stabilization period were the network is fine-tuned for NRC's varied needs," the statement said. "NRC has already resumed its regular business activities to support clients and stakeholders in a secure manner."

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act suggest that the entire process has proven to be a far more complicated project than was first envisioned.

A June 30 presentation on the project showed that rather than being done by July 2015, a new system wouldn't be fully ready until July 2018.

Even that timeline was tough to meet because of "resourcing gaps" with timelines that were "already slipping," one slide reads.

The presentation says Shared Services Canada, the government's information technology department, had hoped to have the research council back to "full business productivity" by the end of 2015.

In the meantime, some of the country's top researchers were being forced to work on the "compromised legacy system" as well as the new, more secure system as it was being built.

Keeping the system running just below full capacity was only possible through the "extreme efforts of staff" who were finding "unsustainable" work-arounds. Come summer, those efforts were "deteriorating," and labelled in the presentation as "unsustainable, not secure, costly, and growth-prohibitive."

What ensued was "growing client frustration," the storage of important research data in digital spaces that were "inaccessible and not secure," and an "immeasurable loss of innovation" as researchers were "directed away from new opportunities."

Getting back to "full business productivity" would be a major milestone for workers overseeing the project, allowing them to move the research council's files and programs --some of which are used by small groups of niche researchers -- to the new system "at a pace and at a cost that is achievable."

The cost to the research council was pegged at $20 million "and growing substantially" as work-arounds failed. The cost of ongoing delays were calculated at $800,000 per week, but the documents don't detail those calculations.

Details of the "resourcing and funding gaps" in the project have been blacked out from the documents because they are considered sensitive advice to government officials.

No one from Shared Services Canada or the National Research Council was made available for interviews about progress on the project.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Inmate confesses to 90 killings; investigators corroborate 30

    World News CBC News
    A man convicted of three California murders and long suspected in numerous other deaths now claims he was involved in about 90 killings nationwide spanning nearly four decades, and investigators already have corroborated about a third of those, a Texas prosecutor said Thursday. Source
  • Nursing home staffer in Kingston, Ont., charged in thefts of wedding rings

    Canada News CTV News
    KINGSTON, Ont. -- A 26-year-old woman faces theft, fraud and other charges after police say several wedding rings were stolen from nursing home residents in Kingston, Ont. Kingston police say they were called to a local nursing home on Oct. Source
  • Canada resisting UN request to extend Mali mission: sources

    World News CBC News
    The Trudeau government is reportedly resisting a United Nations request to extend Canada's peacekeeping mission in Mali so medical evacuations can continue while replacements for Canada's personnel arrive. Canada has eight helicopters and 250 military members in the sprawling West African nation to rescue injured peacekeepers and transport troops and their equipment. Source
  • Brexit omnishambles throws British government into chaos

    World News CBC News
    Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday. Source
  • Indigenous Guardians program gets $5.7M in fed funding

    Canada News CBC News
    Ten First Nations communities from across B.C., along with 25 other Indigenous communities nationally, have been selected to receive funds for a new federally-funded environmental stewardship program. New act will boost Indigenous participation in B.C. environmental assessments Source
  • Indigenous Guardians program gets $5.7M in federal funding

    Canada News CBC News
    Ten First Nations communities from across B.C., along with 25 other Indigenous communities nationally, have been selected to receive funds for a new federally-funded environmental stewardship program. New act will boost Indigenous participation in B.C. environmental assessments Source
  • Threat made against Toronto private school at centre of sexual assault investigation, police say

    Canada News CBC News
    Toronto police have ramped up patrols after a threat was made against a Catholic boys' private school that's at the centre of a sexual assault investigation. Police did not disclose any information about the nature of the threat. Source
  • Toronto private school didn't report incident of alleged sexual assault, police say

    Canada News CBC News
    Toronto police have ramped up patrols after a threat was made against a Catholic boys' private school that's at the centre of a sexual assault investigation. Police did not disclose any information about the nature of the threat. Source
  • Florida the 'laughingstock of the world,' judge says in vote recount ruling

    World News CBC News
    A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000. U.S. Source
  • Florida senate race headed for hand recount

    World News CBC News
    A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000. U.S. Source