#CyberFLASH: Inside Canadian cyber-security agency’s ‘target the world’ strategy

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When Canadian intelligence officials speak about today’s spying, they can reveal great ambition.

Sometimes they speak of wanting to “master the Internet” or even “target the world” before switching to less evocative terms, such as “computer network operations” or CNO.

When pressed whether this is tantamount to “hacking,” they avoid that word.

“We’ve got some bright young kids,” retired spymaster John Adams once told The Globe in an interview. “Virtually everything – 90 per cent of what they do – is CNO now. It opens it up to where they can literally go out and target the world.”

These previously unpublished remarks from Mr. Adams, chief of Communications Security Establishment Canada from 2005 to 2011, seemed cryptic at the time they were spoken late last year.

Yet they are a little less so now.

Recently released material suggest just how very good CSEC may be getting at its job –– avoiding the capture of Canadian communications even as it steps up its capacity to spy on countries around the world.

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