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Canada's foreign affairs department hit by data breach

FILE PHOTO: A computer keyboard lit by a displayed cyber code is seen in this illustration picture

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government said on Tuesday that its global affairs department suffered a data breach and that there was unauthorized access to personal information of users including employees.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC), in a statement, said it activated an unplanned IT outage on Jan. 24 to "address the discovery of malicious cyber activity."

The department, which includes the Canadian trade and foreign ministries, did not say when the data breach occurred. Canadian media, citing unnamed sources, reported earlier that internal systems were vulnerable between Dec. 20 and Jan. 24.

GAC said its critical services and external communication channels were accessible and operational and that IT teams were working to restore full connectivity.

The department said it was contacting those affected by the breach with mitigation measures and that employees working remotely in Canada had been provided with workarounds to continue their duties.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)