- Canada has clearly named China, Russia and other countries, and opposition parties have also called for countering the Chinese threat.
- These activities pose a major strategic threat to Canada.
- The CSE is currently reviewing whether the equipment of the Chinese company Huawei can be incorporated into the 5G network.
Canada announced on Wednesday that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are the main threats to its cyber security. This is the first time Canada has made such a declaration. In 2018, when the Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE) released its first cybersecurity threat report, the agency only mentioned foreign-funded actors.
This time, Canada has clearly named China, Russia and other countries, and opposition parties have also called for countering the Chinese threat.
In its second cyber security threat report released by the CSE, not only countries are specifically listed, but also intelligence agencies are hinted at. These activities pose a major strategic threat to Canada.
CSE’s second report released on Wednesday mentioned that “state-sponsored cyber activities are usually the most complex threat.” CSE Cyber Security Director Scott Jones added:
“Over the past two years, targeting of industrial processes and ransomware attacks have become regular occurrences resulting in major impacts, including reputational damage, productivity loss, legal repercussions, recovery expenses, and damage to infrastructure and operations.”
Although the CSE does not believe that hackers will attempt to cause significant impact or endanger human lives in non-war periods, the agency is also concerned that hackers will target key Canadian institutions as targets, “preparing for other actions in the future, or using them as a tool of intimidation.”
“We assess that ransomware directed against Canada in the next two years will almost certainly continue to target large enterprises and critical infrastructure providers,” the report read.
CSE also said in the report, “these entities cannot tolerate sustained disruptions and are willing to pay up to millions of dollars to quickly restore their operations.”
“Many Canadian victims will likely continue to give in to ransom demands due to the severe costs of losing business and rebuilding their networks and the potentially destructive consequences of refusing payment.”
CSE said that given that people are now highly dependent on digital services in the epidemic, the threat of hackers has also become more serious.
The CSE is currently reviewing whether the equipment of the Chinese company Huawei can be incorporated into the 5G network.
The United States and other allies are concerned that Huawei may set up a backdoor to allow spies to pass through, and has announced that Huawei is banned.
On Wednesday, Canadian opposition parties passed a non-legally binding motion, by a vote of 176-146, suggesting that the government formally announce a ban on Huawei’s 5G equipment within 30 days. They also proposed plans to counter China’s threats and intimidation of the diaspora living in Canada.
The Canadian opposition’s motion stated that China threatened Canada’s interests and values, and called on the government to draw up a plan to “counter China’s increasing foreign activities in Canada.” The motion won the support of the Conservatives.
Although the other allies of the Five Eyes Alliance— the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand— have announced a ban on Huawei, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is still shelving any discussions on whether to use Huawei’s 5G equipment.
Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized that the government is still waiting for advice from intelligence agencies.