Canada Dealing With Cyber Attacks on a ‘Daily Basis’

CSIS’s annual report they say that while terrorism remains the biggest threat to Canada, cyber attacks are increasing in number and aggression.

by Mack Lamoureux
Mar 1 2017, 4:49pm

CSIS has released its annual report and is it ever bleak.

According to Canada's top spooks, the Great White North is getting smashed by cyber attacks every single day—fun stuff. The details on the cyber attacks were outlined in a recently released annual CSIS report that covers from 2014 to 2016. The attacks, conducted by "state-sponsored entities and terrorists," are, according the report, occurring on a daily basis.

"These state-sponsored and terrorist CNO [Computer Network Operations] actors are increasing in number, capability and aggression, and have access to a growing range of tools and techniques that they can employ to accomplish their mission," reads the report.

Graphic via CSIS

Apart from the cyber attacks, the report states that CSIS is dealing with "state-sponsored cyber-espionage" targeted at the Canadian private sector.  The cyber-espionage  "often falls within Canada's advanced technology sector and throughout the critical infrastructure spectrum."

"In addition to stealing intellectual property, one of the objectives of state-sponsored CNO is to obtain information which will give their own companies a competitive edge over Canadian firms," said Michel Coulombe, the director of CSIS.

"This could impact investment or acquisition negotiations involving Canadian companies and the Government of Canada, and, in turn, lead to lost jobs, revenue, and market share."

Coulombe added that CSIS continues to investigate foreign nationals attempting to conduct espionage and "gather sensitive information in Canada."

"Our successful technology sector is consistently targeted for illicit procurement by those pursuing advanced technology," said Coulombe. "This includes those who would use that information to develop weapons of mass destruction."

Graphic via CSIS

In his director's address, Coulombe said that terrorism and violent extremism "remained the most immediate threat to Canada's national security" and thusly is CSIS's central focus.

"The number of terrorism-related threats, the speed at which they evolve, and the use of technology and social media, has created some very real and complicated challenges for the Service." said Coulombe.

The report states that overseas terrorist organizations are successfully utilizing social media to radicalize Canadian youths—specifically pointing out a stabbing that occurred at an army recruiting centre in Toronto in early 2016, and thwarting of a potential suicide bomber in Strathroy, Ontario. The report outlines that a number of Canadians have become "extremist travellers"—individuals who travel overseas to take part in "terrorist activities."

"As of the end of 2016, the Government was aware of approximately 180 individuals with a nexus to Canada who were abroad and who were suspected of engaging in terrorism-related activities," reads the report. "The Government was also aware of a further 60 extremist travellers who had returned to Canada."

Lead photo via Flickr user reynermedia

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