#CyberFLASH: Cyberattack on biometric data poses security risks at border, documents warn

canada-refugee-processing-fingerprintsOTTAWA—Border officials warn a cyberattack on their facial recognition or fingerprints databases could result in barring innocent travellers from Canada — or letting the wrong people in.

In documents prepared for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in November, Canada Border Services Agency officials said they need to “keep pace with emerging security vulnerabilities” to systems governing who can enter the country.

The agency’s growing use of “biometric” data — such as fingerprints, facial recognition, and retinal scans — was cited as an example.

“A malicious cyberattack, for example, could infiltrate the back-end of a biometric identification system and produce false acceptances and/or rejections,” reads the document, obtained by the Star under access to information law.

“Such attacks could disrupt border traffic flows and compromise the integrity of border controls. CBSA must protect Canadians from increasingly complex safety and security threats and continue to advance security monitoring in all technologies.”

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