Government could be handcuffed during cyber attack affecting private sector

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OTTAWA — A targeted cyber attack on a private company or organization controlling a piece of Canada’s critical infrastructure could leave the federal government on the sidelines, able to offer help but with no guarantee that it would be accepted.

Nor would there be any way for the federal government to force companies to accept its involvement should a targeted hack take down critical infrastructure such as electrical plants, water systems or rail, an issue identified during two cyber exercises last year.

“Not clear what the federal government could actually do. The federal government does not ‘solve’ the problem for the affected entity, only coordination and providing advice. Ultimately, it’s up to the entity to fix the problem,” reads a summary of issues and questions arising from the summer exercise.

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