#CyberFLASH: Canada not doing enough to protect critical infrastructure: Expert

Energy-power-electric-imageJust before security consultant Ray Boisvert stood to address a Toronto conference on cyber security and Canadian critical infrastructure, the building’s fire alarm went off and filled the room with a warning siren.

It was the perfect prequel for his speech, which warned governments, utilities and financial institutions aren’t doing enough to defend critical infrastructure for online attacks.

In an interview Boisvert — former assistant director of intelligence at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and currently president of consultancy I-Sec Integrated Strategies, rated the country’s efforts as only B-, although he admitted no country yet has an A. However, he believes the U.S. and Western European countries are ahead of us.

While the federal government has developed a national cyber security strategy for critical infrastructure and pushed provinces and 10 sectors to form groups for sharing information, Boisvert dismissed it as mainly “process” with little action.

At the local level, civic governments “are left to their own devices,” he said. Some hydro systems owned by cities or townships “are really, really vulnerable. They have no funds, and very little awareness of cyber security.”

Provincially, Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta are the leaders, he said. As for the federal government, it needs a cyber czar with deputy minister authority to lead the charge at that level.

This person would be the “spokesperson in chief to drive the agenda amongst the agencies, because in my estimation there isn’t great co-ordination between agencies in Ottawa, even for those who have the money.”

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