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

  • Passenger train partly derails in Australia, killing 2

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- Several cars on a passenger train derailed in southeastern Australia, killing two operators and injuring 12 other people, police said. The train was heading from Sydney to Melbourne late Thursday when part of it came off the tracks in Victoria state near Wallan. Source
  • Wet'suwet'en chiefs to spend Friday with Mohawk supporters in Ontario

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A group of hereditary leaders from the Wet'suwet'en Nation in British Columbia is to spend the day with Mohawk supporters in Ontario. The B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to a pipeline project on their traditional territory by blocking a critical rail line between Toronto and Montreal. Source
  • First round of Wuhan evacuees to be released from quarantine today

    Canada News CTV News
    Full coverage CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus First round of Wuhan evacuees to be released from quarantine today As Canadians from cruise ship fly home, those who tested positive can only wait Source
  • Thai court orders popular opposition party dissolved

    World News CTV News
    BANGKOK -- Thailand's constitutional Court on Friday ordered the popular opposition Future Forward Party dissolved, declaring that it violated election law by accepting a loan from its leader. The court also imposed a 10-year ban on the party's executive members holding political office. Source
  • Latino voters can make or break Democratic campaigns. They're about to get their say in 2020

    World News CBC News
    Latino voters turned the course of the Democratic presidential primaries in 2016. They're about to get their say in 2020. Starting this weekend in Nevada, followed just over a week later by the delegate-bountiful states of California and Texas, Hispanic voters will play a make-or-break role. Source
  • Be warned, Conservatives: a failed leadership bid is not a career-builder

    Canada News CBC News
    There are two types of candidates vying for the Conservative leadership — those who have a plausible chance of winning and those who don't. Only the second category is getting larger. Maybe the people in this second group think they can pull off an unlikely upset. Source
  • Government asking for an extra $2.1 billion for Indigenous programs

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is asking Parliament to spend an additional $2.1 billion on Indigenous programs and initiatives, above and beyond what MPs already have approved. While $2 billion of the proposed spending for Indigenous services would be new money, supplementary estimates tabled in Parliament show that more than $53 million in net transfers from various departments would go to a wide range of Indigenous programs and projects. Source
  • Grief, anger and calls for action after shooting in Germany

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- Thousands have gathered in cities across Germany to hold vigils for the victims of a racially motivated shooting, amid growing calls for authorities to crack down on far-right extremism. A 43-year-old German man shot dead nine people of immigrant background in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau Wednesday before killing his mother and himself. Source
  • Iran votes in parliament elections that favour conservatives

    World News CTV News
    TEHRAN, IRAN -- Iranians were voting for a new parliament Friday, with turnout seen as a key measure of support for Iran's leadership as sanctions weigh on the economy and isolate the country diplomatically. The disqualification of more than 7,000 potential candidates, most of them reformists and moderates, raised the possibility of lower-than-usual turnout. Source
  • Charter flight carrying quarantined cruise passengers lands at CFB Trenton

    Canada News CBC News
    The charter plane carrying more than 200 Canadian passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has landed at CFB Trenton in Ontario. The plane, which touched down just after 2 a.m. ET, was carrying passengers from the cruise liner that was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan since early February due to an outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus. Source