Mark Collins – Canadian Federal Government (and others) Not Cyber Serious

Further to this post (note links at end),

Another US Effort to be Cyber-Serious–and Canada?

some people are starting to speak out:

Canada ‘failing’ in fight against cybercrime, hacking
Police, industry leaders say Canada needs new national cyber-strategy to protect citizens, businesses

Canada is lagging behind the U.S., Britain [see end of this post] and other countries in defending citizens and businesses against malicious hackers and cyber-criminals, say numerous groups involved in trying to police the internet.

“We’re failing, we’re falling behind,” warns Katherine Thompson of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance [website here], one of Canada’s largest private-sector high-tech advocacy groups.

“We cannot continue down the path that we’re on right now,” she told CBC News. “We just went through a very long federal election where not one of the major party leaders discussed cyber-security.”

Since 2010, Public Safety Canada has spent $245 million on defending government computer networks, safeguarding critical infrastructure and educating the public.

It has also earmarked $142 million over the next five years to tackle cyber-threats [PEANUTS!] — particularly against critical infrastructure. But leaders in Canada’s policing, IT and cyber-security sectors say the federal strategy is focused primarily on national security threats and does little to combat the dramatic growth in email scams, online extortion and breaches at corporate computer networks.

Canadians are also largely in the dark about the scope of cybercrimes given the country has no central agency to track online scams and malicious electronic attacks. 

What’s more, there are no federal laws to force companies to disclose hacks, security breaches, thefts of data or money so the general public has incomplete knowledge of which companies have been compromised.

“People having their identity threatened, or having their computers infected, files locked down for ransom, those types of things, the average police station doesn’t know how to respond to that,” says Norm Taylor who leads an executive training program for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police [website here].  

“The result is, it’s not being documented. And the public is neither reporting, nor are the police really doing much in the way of outreach to quantify those types of incidents,” he says…

Cyber-threats not being shared

CBC News has learned the Canadian government is trying to work with industry leaders to develop a new “threat-sharing” network to try to help spread intelligence about emerging cyber-threats.

Currently, much of the IT security industry operates in silos. The federal government protects its own networks, while large industries protect theirs.

John Proctor, vice-president of CGI, a global cyber-security firm based in Ottawa [website here], says that, unlike the U.S. and Europe, Canada lacks co-operation within the private sector…

He says Canada desperately needs a “threat-sharing” hub where companies can overcome proprietary and competitive concerns to help defend one another`s collective security…

Now look at the Brits:

“We are investing more than ever before on the UK’s defensive and offensive cyber capabilities to protect our national interests,” the MoD stated. “Last week the Chancellor [George Osborne] outlined a plan for £1.9bn in cyber investment, including a £165m Defence and Cyber Innovation Fund, to support innovative procurement across both defence and cyber security.”

Osborne said government investment to protect the UK from cyber attack would be nearly doubled to £1.9bn over the next five years.

Government spending allocated to cybersecurity over that period, including core cybersecurity capabilities, protecting UK networks and ensuring safe and secure online services, amounts to more than £3.2 billion, Osborne said…

Then see this:

Compared with the annual defence budget of almost £40bn, the allocation for cyber defence is extremely small, say commentators

Woe Canada.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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