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

  • Oil prices at highest levels in 4 years

    World News CBC News
    Oil prices were at their highest levels since 2014 in trading Monday, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided not to raise output. In a meeting Sunday in Algiers, OPEC rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's call to open the taps, with both Saudi Arabia and Russia saying they won't produce significantly more oil. Source
  • Michael Kors reportedly ready to buy Versace for $2B

    World News CBC News
    U.S. fashion group Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. has agreed to take control of Italy's Versace in a deal that could value the company at $2 billion US, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. The deal comes as budding luxury conglomerates, including Michael Kors' U.S. Source
  • Ford plans to form special committee to probe province's fiscal situation

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Premier Doug Ford says his government plans to strike a special committee to further investigate Ontario's fiscal situation in light of a newly reviewed multibillion-dollar deficit. Ford says the select committee will have the power to call witnesses, compel documents and gather evidence. Source
  • Mounties hunt on-the-run assault suspect who escaped custody

    Canada News CTV News
    The RCMP in Saskatchewan is looking for a man who escaped from custody following his arrest in an assault case. Police at Kamsack took the 26-year-old accused into custody Saturday afternoon on Cote First Nation. Source
  • AP source says U.S. Deputy AG expecting to be fired

    World News CTV News
    In this July 13, 2018, file photo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Source
  • Sex assault charge stayed against one British sailor, trial proceeding for other

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX - The Crown has stayed a sexual assault charge against a British sailor in Halifax but the trial of his co-accused is set to continue today. Simon Radford and Darren Smalley were charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and participating in a group sexual assault in barracks at 12 Wing Shearwater on April 10, 2015. Source
  • Federal public servants advised to stay home amid Ottawa tornado cleanup

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA – Federal government workers in the Ottawa area have been asked to stay home on Monday as cleanup across the Ottawa area continues following Friday’s tornadoes. Public servants in the National Capital Region received the notice not to come in, or work from home if possible, on Sunday night. Source
  • Wettlaufer inquiry to hear testimony from families of nursing home victims

    Canada News CBC News
    Emotions will be running high as relatives and friends of nursing home residents killed by disgraced nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer testify today at Ontario's public inquiry into long-term care when it resumes in St. Thomas. Closing submissions will be heard this week, capping off the four-month public portion of the inquiry into the safety and security of residents in long-term care. Source
  • Will Bill Cosby, 81, go to prison? A judge is set to decide

    World News CBC News
    Bill Cosby arrived at a suburban Philadelphia courthouse Monday for the start of a sentencing hearing that will determine how the 81-year-old comedian will be punished for drugging and sexually assaulting a Canadian woman more than 14 years ago. Source
  • South Carolina county braced for 'record event' when Hurricane Florence waters crest

    World News CBC News
    Hurricane Florence is by no means done with the Carolinas, where some rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest. About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, S.C. Source