#CyberFLASH: Cybersecurity strategy hinges on fed-prov collaboration

Cyber-700x500Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale will need to continue working closely with the provinces and territories if he wants to close the gaps in Canada’s cybersecurity preparedness and develop a plan for countering radicalization, security experts say.

Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould held their first meeting with provincial and territorial ministers in Quebec City Thursday to hash out concerns about public safety and justice issues. Among the topics they discussed were cybersecurity and counter-radicalization — or specifically, the need to get better at sharing best practices for protecting critical infrastructure and developing a policy framework to organize counter-radicalization efforts.

While there was little detail provided in the accompanying press release, researchers focusing on national security and terrorism say the fact that the new government is making a commitment to work more closely with the provinces and territories is a good sign.

“A lot of the critical infrastructure that might need protection is in the hands of the provinces and private sector,” said Wesley Wark, a professor focusing on national security at the University of Ottawa. “That’s really the root of this — vulnerability and, in their mind, inadequate measures by the previous government.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Goodale with leading a review of Canada’s state of critical infrastructure protection when appointing him to the portfolio in November.

The Canadian government had been the target of multiple high-profile cyber attacks during the former Conservative government’s decade in office — in 2011, attacks traced to Chinese IP addresses targeted the Treasury Board, the Department of Finance and Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).

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