#CyberFLASH: Ex-CSIS official backs Canada’s attempt to get cyber promise from China

feature-china-hack-keyboard-thinkstock-620x250For several years Western governments have blamed official Chinese or Chinese-government backed groups for hacking into databases of public and private organizations. But a year ago the U.S. president Barack Obama and Chinese president president Xi Jinping signed an agreement not to direct or support cyberattacks that steal corporate data for economic benefit.

Now Canada wants to do the same.

A spokesman for Public Safety minister Ralph Goodale told the Globe and Mail that this country will try to get a similar agreement, which has also been negotiated between China and the United Kingdom.

The idea has the support of Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director for intelligence at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) who now has his own security consulting company.

“I do support this type of approach,” he said in an email to ITWorldCanada.com. “As we collectively mature in this new networked, cyber-enabled world, be it governments, the private sector or citizens, we will have to apply all types of risk reduction strategies. And of course diplomacy should always be a first among strategic plays. It is no guarantee of success, especially without verification, but two previous agreements involving the U.S. and U.K. (and China) have recorded measurable reductions in cyber thefts of intellectual property and by extension breaches of individual privacy.

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#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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