#CyberFLASH: Can business and government ensure Canada’s cybersecurity?

10712553Business finds itself on the front lines of global conflict these days like never before. Consider the high-tech assault on Turkey’s banking system, which disrupted credit card transactions and online services last December in the midst of tensions with Russia. Or the computer systems breach at the Warsaw Stock Exchange in October, 2014, claimed by Islamic State. When there is geopolitical tension – it does not have to be a declared conflict – cyberattacks by state or state-sponsored organizations are now inevitable.

These attacks have two main purposes. The first is to inflict immediate damage, by disrupting services and stealing information. The second, more pernicious, is to intimidate. And enterprises are not the only targets. There have been countless intrusions into the systems of government defence organizations and other departments in Europe and the United States in recent years.

Canadian businesses generally take this threat seriously and are investing significant resources to safeguard the integrity of their data. However, should we come under attack from foreign states, we expect our own government to have some role in protecting us against such attacks. It is imperative that Canada step up its game.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has stated its intention to conduct an in-depth review of Canada’s defence strategy by the end of 2016. In light of the growing number of geopolitically motivated cyberattacks around the world, this important policy exercise must include cybersecurity as an integral component of defence strategy.

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