Chinese government hackers have unsuccessfully attempted to break into the Canadian finance department's computers to obtain secret economic data, CTV News has learned.
Sources say the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has advised government officials not to name China as the country where the attacks were launched, or even talk about the situation.
It's unclear how many attempts have been made to break into the finance department's computer network.
A senior government source said Chinese espionage has become a major problem for Canada and other nations, and noted that the U.S. government has set up its own cyber-threat agency to deal with security breaches from foreign nations.
The latest attacks come as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty prepares for a weekend G20 meeting in Paris, where his Chinese counterpart will be in attendance.
Internet espionage experts like Ron Deibert, co-director of the Citizen Lab and the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the University of Toronto, say there is an arms race in cyberspace.
Last year, his group identified a China-based group of hackers that broke into Indian government computers and stole Canadian visa applications. The Chinese government denied involvement in those attacks.
With a report by CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife