#CyberFLASH: Cyberattacks on infrastructure a ‘major threat,’ says CSIS chief

shutterstock_154242893-680x400The head of Canada’s main spy agency says he views the possibility of a cyberattack by ISIS or other extremist groups on the country’s “critical infrastructure” as “a major threat.”

“Cyber is one of our top priorities,” Michel Coulombe, director the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) told an Ottawa news conference on Wednesday.

Coulombe was responding to questions after Britain announced it is nearly doubling funding for cyber counterterrorism amid fears ISIS is looking to target Western infrastructure such as hospitals, airports or power plants by using the internet.

He was flanked by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Ralph Goodale, Canada’s newly appointed minister of public safety.

“This is an area that I’m beginning to be further briefed on by the department,” Goodale told reporters, deferring to his deputy minister and CSIS.

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#CyberFLASH: Manitoba Hydro may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks: report

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Manitoba’s auditor general says Manitoba Hydro could be vulnerable to a cyber-attack by hackers or terrorists.

A report released this week by Carol Bellringer said a visit to four generating stations uncovered serious weaknesses in cyber-security controls.

“(It) could result in unintentional and/or inappropriate commands that could lead to equipment malfunction, causing significant risks to the health and safety of Manitobans as well as the environment,” wrote Bellringer.

She made recommendations to Hydro, including identifying and mitigating risks. The Crown corporation said, for the most part, it embraces all of them and said it recognizes the importance of implementing proper cyber-security protocols.

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Tracking terrorism trends: a new model for political risk?

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Like other volatile risks, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, potential terrorist threats are being modelled and quantified by a small number of specialist catastrophe modelling firms, brokers and insurers.

Earlier this year, Towers Watson became the latest firm to develop a terrorism and political risk model.

The new model, called Sunstone, covers some 44 different attacks and 42 types of target around the world, including 702,000 individual locations in the US alone. These include high explosive attacks, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN), and more unusual threats such as cyber or an electromagnetic pulse. It also covers kinetic attacks such as the failed plot by Islamic terrorists earlier this year to derail a train in Canada.

“We wanted to be forward-looking,” says Holt. “There is little discussion about cyber terrorism or the potential for attacks on GPS systems, but we need to look beyond the type of incidents already prevalent now.”

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Is Canada sleepwalking into a cyberwar?

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The next 9/11-scale attack on North America likely won’t be launched by terrorists wielding box-cutter knives, hijacking airplanes to fly them into buildings. Nothing so dramatic.

It could come quietly, through the fiber-optic network that invisibly knits together the modern world. Imagine a highly-orchestrated series of online attacks on our critical infrastructure — oil and gas pipelines, nuclear power plants, electricity grids, critical comunications systems, even our banking system.

Such an attack could shut down key sectors of the North American economy. It could kill many, many people.

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Canada infrastructure vulnerable to cyber attack, RCMP report

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Canada remains vulnerable to cyber attacks by “terrorist groups [which] have expressed interest in developing the capabilities for computer-based attacks against Canada’s critical infrastructure.”

The warning was contained in the annual departmental performance review filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police late in 2012.

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IT upgrade needed for cyber threats Canadian networks at risk from online ‘terrorist group’ attacks

Terrorists are ready to target Canadian IT networks with Internet-based attacks, the RCMP warned Thursday, adding the force needed to better its ability to combat this emerging threat.

“One area that requires improved capabilities is countering cyber-threats to national security,” the Mounties wrote in the force’s annual review. “Terrorist groups have expressed interest in developing the capabilities for computer-based attacks against Canada’s critical infrastructure.”

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‘Improved capabilities’ needed to combat cyber-threats to national security, RCMP say

OTTAWA – Terrorists are ready to target Canadian IT networks with Internet-based attacks, the RCMP warned Thursday, adding the force needed to better its ability to combat this emerging threat.

“One area that requires improved capabilities is countering cyber-threats to national security,” the Mounties wrote in the force’s annual review. “Terrorist groups have expressed interest in developing the capabilities for computer-based attacks against Canada’s critical infrastructure.”

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Canada needs to take threat of Chinese cyberespionage more seriously: former top spy

One of Canada’s former top spies says that the damage done by economic espionage is now on par with the threat posed by al-Qaeda and other radical groups.

“It has become equal to the threat of terrorism. Why? It has such long-term repercussions. The future prosperity of Canadians,” says Ray Boisvert, who had served as the assistant director of intelligence for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service until his retirement six months ago.

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