HASH(0xb4ac60)

HASH(0xb4ac60)

Federal government needs help tackling cyberthreats, internal report warns

Feds need help tackling cyberthreats: report

OTTAWA — The Canadian government is “simply not up to the overall challenge” of fending off cyberthreats on its own and must partner with the private sector and the United States to tackle the problem, warns a federally commissioned report.

Canada is a prime target for cybercrime, state-sponsored attacks and lone hackers, and government officials have a crucial role to play in helping fend them off, the authors conclude.

“The productivity and competitiveness of Canada in the digital age will require a strong defence of its critical information and technical infrastructure,” the report says.

“Current efforts by government, industry and communities need to be better co-ordinated and more strategic.”

The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain a final draft version of the April 2016 report on cyberthreat information-sharing protocols and policies in Canada and the United States.

The report comes amid growing concern about damaging intrusions into computer systems that expose personal information, commercial secrets and sensitive government data — endangering everything from credit ratings to national security.

The disclosure of pilfered Democratic Party emails proved embarrassing to presidential contender Hillary Clinton when published by WikiLeaks. The U.S. says Moscow led the attack, though Russia has denied involvement.

Three years ago, the Canadian government blamed a sophisticated, Chinese state-sponsored actor for a breach of the National Research Council’s networks that resulted in a shutdown of the research agency’s information-technology system. Beijing accused Canada of making irresponsible allegations.

However, Canada’s spy agency has openly warned that China and Russia are out to steal national secrets.

Under Canada’s cybersecurity strategy, the federal government is responsible for securing its own systems, working with the provincial governments and private sector to keep other systems safe and helping Canadians to protect themselves online.

The report, prepared for Public Safety Canada by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, found the government information-technology community is already overwhelmed with challenges such as aging systems and a move to cloud computing.

At the same time, few small businesses have full-time computer security staff.

The latest federal budget promised $77 million in new money over five years to bolster cybersecurity.

The report recommends broader engagement of the private sector, saying Canadian government budgets, resources and capabilities “are simply not up to the overall challenge.”

It calls for closer collaboration with the U.S. to take advantage of the billions of dollars Washington is spending on cybersecurity. It also urges more co-operation with small- and medium-sized businesses in developing solutions.  

The report also cautions that any effort to ramp up surveillance and information-gathering to counter threats in cyberspace must be balanced with respect for privacy and personal liberties. It says that means building in strict criteria on the use of information as well as sufficient oversight.

Ottawa recently wrapped up a national cybersecurity consultation. The aim is to identify gaps and opportunities, come up with fresh ideas and capitalize on the advantages of new technology.

The recommendations of the commissioned report will be taken into account as part of the cybersecurity review, said Public Safety spokeswoman Karine Martel.

“Keeping Canadians safe while protecting their privacy rights remains a priority for the government and will be reflected in the policy and program decisions that stem from this ongoing review.”

— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Numbers of new COVID-19 cases for the week of Feb. 14 to 20 appear to be trending down for all local health areas in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
Colours on COVID-19 map getting lighter for North Okanagan-Shuswap

Number of new weekly cases reported by BC Centre for Disease Control drop throughout region

Smoke dissipates as fire crews respond to smoke that was billowing from a residential building in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue SE in Salmon Arm about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Residents displaced following Salmon Arm apartment fire

Crews were called to the scene at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24

A chocolate banana cream pie, similar to the smaller version pictured, baked by the Shuswap Pie Company’s Tovah Shantz, fetched $5,000 in this year’s Heritage Week pie auction fundraiser for R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum. (Shuswap Pie Company photo)
Shuswap Pie Company creation fetches $5,000 for Salmon Arm attraction

Heritage Week pie auction raises $51,500 for R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the former Kal Tire location in Salmon Arm now has its own truck as well as ‘opening soon’ signs on the building. (Photo contributed)
Salmon Arm ReStore looking for volunteers as setup to begin

Stocking shelves expected to start within two weeks, soft opening in April

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Royal LePage Place, along with the adjacent Jim Lind Arena are the two ice arenas operated by the City of West Kelowna..—Image credit: contributed
$442,200 to replace aging ammonia chiller at West Kelowna arena

West Kelowna is the recipient of a provincial grant to replace the ammonia chiller

The husband wife team of Brett Turner and Olivia Fobert are the bakers and makers behind Joy Road Catering who are opening up a pop up bakeshop this May in the former Craft Kitchen. (Facebook)
Pop-up bakeshop opening in downtown Penticton

Joy Road Catering’s Bakeshop will be offering breads, pastries, lunch bowls and a marketplace

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Major renovations are planned for the Centennial Outdoor Rink in Vernon. - Photo submitted
$695K grant to get Vernon rink ready for next season

Provincial funding will go toward replacing chiller at Centennial Outdoor Rink

BC49 logo
$75K lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Check your tickets, someone is winning big through the BC/49

Highway 5 pictured at Zopkios Southbound, Feb. 25 morning. (DriveBC)
Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Up to 30 cm of snow expected by Friday (Feb. 26) morning

Pivot Rx is a new downtown Vernon pharmacy that aims to combine face-to-face care with the latest technological offerings in pharmaceutical care. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
New Vernon pharmacy takes ‘old-school’ approach to cutting-edge care

Pivot Rx has set up shop downtown in a building formerly home to MacKay’s Prescriptions for 40 years

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been deposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

Most Read