CRA takes tax services down due to 'vulnerability'

Canadians were unable to file their taxes over the weekend after the Canada Revenue Agency’s online services were taken offline due to a "vulnerability,” although the agency says it is “not aware of any unauthorized access to taxpayer information.”

CRA spokesperson Patrick Samson told CTV News in an statement Saturday evening that the agency “proactively took its websites off-line as a precautionary measure at approximately midnight March 10, upon becoming aware of an internet vulnerability that affects some computer servers used by websites worldwide.”

“This included digital services such as My Account and My Business Account,” Samson said. “Action was taken to protect web servers from vulnerabilities, so the CRA website and digital services returned online around 1:30 a.m.”

“Later on March 10, through continued monitoring, the CRA determined that while the CRA website was protected, digital services were potentially vulnerable,” Samson added. “For that reason, the CRA again proactively took digital services off-line at approximately 2:00 p.m. and remain inaccessible.”

Samson said that the CRA is “not aware of any unauthorized access to taxpayer information and we continue to monitor closely” and that services were not taken offline as the result of a “successful hack or breach.”

Samson added that “digital services will remain offline until the CRA has determined that there is no longer a security vulnerability.”

“Individuals can continue to prepare their income tax and benefit return and electronically file once digital services are fully operational,” Samson said.

A notice on the website posted for much of Saturday said services including “the ability to electronically file your taxes, are temporarily unavailable as a result of system maintenance.”

Late in the day on Saturday, a new message was posted that stated “ensuring that your personal information is not compromised is a priority for us.”

The statement went on: “Upon becoming aware of an internet vulnerability that affects some computer servers used by websites worldwide, we took down our online services, including electronic filing, and are taking steps to ensure that all information and systems remain safe.”