07/27/2015 15:06 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Public service labour board taken offline after breach discovered last week

OTTAWA — Hackers have broken into the network of the tribunal that adjudicates disputes between public servants and the federal government.

The website of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board has been down since Friday after security officials discovered hackers had exploited a weakness to get into the tribunal's public network.

It's not known how long the hackers were in the system, or exactly what — if anything — they took during the breach, which was discovered last Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada says the board's public network has been taken offline as a precaution and officials are trying to get the site back online as soon as possible.

Catherine Wright-Cadieux didn't say whether any personal information had been lost in the breach.

A spokeswoman for the federal privacy commissioner says the office was made aware of the breach Friday.

The Conservatives have placed a premium on protecting federal systems from hackers who routinely attack government systems looking for state secrets. Some attacks target weaknesses in smaller agencies in hopes of gaining access to wider federal networks.

Often, hackers can be inside a network for weeks or months before the breach is discovered.

The Canadian Press