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

  • Brexit campaign group Vote Leave referred to police for breaching spending rules

    World News CBC News
    Britain's Electoral Commission said on Tuesday it had fined the officially designated pro-Brexit campaign group 61,000 pounds ($106,065 Cdn) for breaching spending rules in the 2016 referendum and referred it to the police. Two years since voting 51.9-48.1 to leave the EU, the United Kingdom, the political elite and business remain deeply divided over whether the country should leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, and if so how. Source
  • 1 in 6 Canadians struggling with finances, Angus Reid survey finds

    Canada News CBC News
    More than a quarter of Canadians are already facing serious financial hardship, according to the findings of a new study released Tuesday as part of an examination of poverty. According to the report from the Angus Reid Institute, 21 per cent of respondents said they can't afford to go for dental care, while one quarter reported they have recently had to borrow money to buy groceries. Source
  • Second World War bomber touches down on Canadian soil

    Canada News CTV News
    It was a landing most people have only seen in old war movies. A massive B-29 bomber, nicknamed Fifi, touched down on Canadian soil this week as part of a mission to keep history alive. Source
  • Tesla shares fall after Musk's spat with British diver

    World News CBC News
    Shares of Tesla Inc fell 2.75 per cent on Monday after CEO Elon Musk directed abuse on Twitter at one of the British cave divers involved in the rescue of 12 Thai children last week. A number of analysts and investors, requesting anonymity, told Reuters that Musk's comments are adding to their concerns that his public statements are distracting him from Tesla's main business of producing electric cars. Source
  • No prison time for day care owner who put toddler in noose

    World News CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minneapolis day care owner was sentenced Monday to 10 years of probation for trying to kill a toddler in her home by hanging him from a noose. Nataliia Karia, 43, received her punishment in Hennepin County court after pleading guilty to attempted murder and third-degree assault earlier. Source
  • Alberta town divided over program to kill feral rabbits at $300 a pop

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta town remains divided over a controversial program to kill feral rabbits at a cost of nearly $300 per bunny. Ten years ago, the Town of Canmore had an estimated 2,000 feral rabbits. Source
  • Alberta town divided over program to kill feral rabbits at cost of $300 per bunny

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta town remains divided over a controversial program to kill feral rabbits at a cost of nearly $300 per bunny. Ten years ago, the Town of Canmore had an estimated 2,000 feral rabbits. Source
  • Families bury the dead after bloody weekend in Nicaragua

    World News CTV News
    MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Families began burying the dead Monday following a bloody weekend in Nicaragua as police and paramilitary groups attacked roadblocks set up by anti-government demonstrators demanding President Daniel Ortega's exit from office. The family and friends of 20-year-old university student Gerald Vasquez, one of two students killed Saturday when pro-government groups attacked the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, carried his casket to a Managua cemetery, chanting "They…
  • Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent molten rock crashing through the roof of a sightseeing boat off Hawaii's Big Island, injuring 23 people Monday, officials said. A woman in her 20s was in serious condition with a broken thigh bone, the Hawaii County Fire Department said. Source
  • Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking the government to court over six arrests made last month. The people were taken into custody June 18 when Regina police enforced an eviction order. Source