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Report warns of emerging cybersecurity threats

Fraser Institute report calls for cooperation between Canadian and US.


VANCOUVER — The Canadian and US governments must intensify their efforts to protect their national interests against cyber attacks, says a study by the Fraser Institute.

The Think-tanks cited the flurry of Chinese-based attacks against Western political, military, and industrial targets; US-Israeli cooperation to develop and deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against Iran’s nuclear program; and various Russian cyber operations as part of a new form of hybrid warfare.

“Cyberattacks continue to increase in quantity and quality which is why, in the absence of formal international agreements, North American resilience in cyberspace must be heightened,” says Alexander Moens, co-author of Cybersecurity Challenges for Canada and the United States, a Fraser Institute senior fellow, and political science professor at Simon Fraser University.

Moens notes that some estimates have pegged the total cost of global cyber incidents at between $375 billion to $575 billion a year.

The study also emphasizes the advantages of cooperation between Canada and the US and their affiliation with the Five Eyes – an intelligence arrangement which also includes the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

“…While the US possesses cyber intelligence capabilities that are significantly more advanced than most states, without its allies, it’s not able to gather the volume of information it needs,” says Moens.

He addresses concerns regarding privacy and personal liberties by suggesting that increased surveillance at home and coordination with foreign allies necessitates the need for greater oversight of Canada’s cybersecurity and intelligence agencies.

“As Canada updates its ability to deal with threats in cyberspace, it needs to enhance the ability of its representative government to oversee this important work. The idea of an all-party committee in Parliament, advocated by some observers, is a good step.”

Click here for a copy of the report.

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