Canadians should now be wary that foreign attempts to influence our nation’s rhetoric are the « new normal, » the Cybersecurity Agency warns.
OTTAWA – Threatening foreign actors trying to influence all aspects of Canadian life online have become the « new normal » as state-sponsored hackers from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea pose the biggest cyber threats to Canadians, as Canada warns of the Internet Security agency.
“We are facing two epidemics: It is clear that the pandemic that we all experience every day in terms of our personal health. There is definitely a pandemic of cybercrime out there, Scott Jones, head of the Communications Security Corporation’s (CSE) Canadian Cyber Security Center, said during a press conference on Wednesday.. .
was commenting on the release of the second-ever National Cyber Threat Assessment (NCTA) report for CSE, in which the agency explicitly identifies for the first time all countries that pose the greatest cyber threat to Canadians.
“State-sponsored programs in China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose the greatest strategic threats to Canada. State-sponsored cyber activity is generally the most complex threat to Canadians and Canadian organizations, » warns the 2020 edition of the biennial CSE report published on Wednesday.
Although the list of threats highlighted in the 2020 report is very similar to the one reported in 2018, Scott says the biggest difference is the « severity and level of complexity » of the threats..
State-sponsored hackers pose all kinds of risks to Canadian individuals, companies, and governments, from ransomware attacks that disrupt entire IT systems, to intellectual property theft, and massive data breaches that steal a large body of personal data..
But the agency also points to the growing risk of actors in cyberthreats trying to attack Canada’s « critical infrastructure », especially electrical grids..
However, the agency says it is « extremely unlikely » that these cyber-threat actors will actively attempt to disrupt, damage or seize critical infrastructure as long as Canada is not participating in any international hostilities..
“We’re definitely not trying to intimidate people into getting them off the grid by building a hut in the woods. We are here to say: Let’s deal with this now . . . Before it becomes a threat that could become real in the future, ”Scott told reporters.
Unfortunately, Scott says that many people and organizations do not take threats seriously enough to implement basic cybersecurity measures to protect their data and systems, such as two-factor authentication..
“There is a continuing trend that the fundamentals of cybersecurity remain at the root of most compromises. Scott cautioned that we don’t take the basics seriously enough, and we’re not doing the basic things that need to be done for basic (cybersecurity) cleanliness. « .
Increased foreign interference in the United States. s. Elections and political rhetoric have also been documented online for years now, but Canadians are far from safe from the same forces at risk..
In fact, Canadians should now be wary of the fact that foreign attempts to influence our nation’s rhetoric are the « new normal, » the CSE warns..
“It is almost certain that online foreign influence campaigns continue and are not limited to major political events such as elections. Online foreign influence activities are a new normal, and adversaries seek to influence domestic events in addition to influencing international discourse on current events, « the report notes..
“Adversaries use online influence campaigns to try to change civic discourse, policymakers’ choices, government relations, and the reputation of politicians and countries, nationally and globally..
States may also try to « exacerbate existing differences » in societies or even « delegitimize the concept of democracy » if it conflicts with their ideological views, the report adds..
Cyber criminals are also increasingly targeting Canadians’ personal information, either through direct contact scams such as phishing emails or text messages, or by targeting companies with a large body of sensitive data..
The report notes that the fact that more Canadians are working from home than ever before and relying on an increasing number of internet services during the COVID-19 pandemic is also creating more vulnerabilities for hackers and cyber fraudsters to exploit.. .
« Private information is targeted, and it is being targeted on a large scale. Scott explained that we see files being created about us as individuals that are then used for further online activity. .
“We see private information the target of every action and the commercial value of cybercriminals is high and growing.
Cyber criminals also target larger organizations (which the report refers to as the « big game ») because the « illegal market for online tools and services » makes it easier and more affordable..
The report notes that in the few months between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, the average ransom demand jumped 33 percent to nearly $ 148,700..
“You see cyber threat agencies that are able to benefit from what could have been in previous years within the scope of the country only. Scott summed it up, « They have very sophisticated toolkits. ».
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Canada, Computer Security, Communications Security Corporation, Canadian Center for Cybersecurity
World News – CA – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are Canada’s « greatest strategic threat »: CSE relocate
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