Canada warned of ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’ attacks

The escalating threat of cyber attacks requires a rethink in the government’s security priorities, experts and opposition critics said Friday in the wake of a stark warning from the American defence secretary about potentially devastating Internet-based threats.

Leon Panetta warned his own nation Thursday that businesses needed to better protect their own systems, as does government, to prevent a “cyber Pearl Harbor” – a cataclysmic cyber attack that would take down large parts of North American networks and be more devastating than the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Panetta’s warning comes after concerns raised earlier this week in Canada about potential Chinese spying through state-backed telecommunications firm Huawei, and the country’s ability to secure information after Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle admitted he took secrets from a secure facility using a USB key.

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