In The Media

Is Canada prepared for the threat from state-sponsored hackers?

by Staff (feat. John Adams) - references his paper by us

The Globe and Mail
September 18, 2016

Someone is trying to break into the systems that serve as the Internet’s skeleton and central nervous system.

The increasingly sophisticated attacks often bear the hallmarks of state sponsorship, with many experts fingering China and Russia. It’s likely a matter of time before they succeed.

How long will it take for hostile nations to turn their attention to the West’s intelligence documents, the electrical grid and the political system? Oh, wait: they already have.

Given recent headlines have focused on either American (the Democratic National Committee, former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell) or international targets (the World Anti-Doping Agency), it’s easy to forget data protection is a serious Canadian problem as well.

Canada is in the midst of a defence policy review, which may end up mostly focusing on the things we have argued about forever, like which new fighter jets to buy. But war and security threats are moving from the physical world to cyberspace. There are new dangers to be considered and planned for.

The former head of the Canadian Security Establishment, the electronic spy agency, recently argued in a Canadian Global Affairs Institute policy paper that the military should have the authority to go on the cyber offensive. The online world is a different place from 2010, the last time our cybersecurity policy was revamped, says John Adams. He says it would be “neglectful beyond belief” to not arm Canada adequately to safeguard the national interest – and political, economic and social institutions – in “a new kind of war.”

Mr. Adams argues that a strictly defensive approach is no longer appropriate. State-sponsored hackers, working for states such as Russia, have grown increasingly bold, and wield extensive capabilities that their national masters may choose to unleash.

It’s unclear whether Canada’s military and security establishments need to get better at “going on offence” in cyberspace, or should focus solely on improving its defensive game. What’s certain is that this is an area of evolving threats. Canada needs to carefully study and consider the threats, and its options, as part of any review of defence and intelligence policy. To keep the cyber-peace, we need to be prepared for somebody else launching cyber-wars.

 


Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Byron Rogers
    commented 2016-09-20 10:22:40 -0400
    How does the citizen know that Canada is not already taking offensive cyber action and is not “strictly defensive”? When the US claimed Russians were behind the recent Democratic Party hack, they retorted that Americans had interfered with the last set of Russian elections. Those of us out of the loop of security are forced to rely on trust, that ‘our side’ is always in the right. No one is their right mind would trust the Russians, who seem driven by ressentiment, but one is strongly tempted to “trust no one”.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

Defence Procurement’s Effectiveness Dissected at Ottawa Conference

by James Carless (feat. Gavin Liddy), Canadian Defence Review, November 21, 2019

Thomas S. Axworthy: As Russia and China step up their Arctic activity, Canada misses the boat

by Thomas S. Axworthy (feat. Rob Hubert), The National Post, November 21, 2019

'Dynamic' Francois-Philippe Champagne set to be tested as foreign minister in new cabinet

by Mike Blanchfield and Jordan Press (feat. Colin_Robertson), The Canadian Press, November 20, 2019

Slow economic growth bad for Canada’s foreign policy goals, experts say

by Mike Blanchfield (feat. Sarah Goldfeder), The Canadian Press, November 19, 2019


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 4K9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: contact@cgai.ca
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2019 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email