OTTAWA — Federal officials have quietly warned operators of electrical grids, transportation hubs and other key infrastructure of the cyberthreat from insiders who could unleash devastating viruses and cripple systems, internal government notes reveal.
A student uses an Apple MacBook laptop in his class in Palo Alto, Cali. on Feb. 22, 2010. (Photo: Paul Sakuma/AP)
Liberals undertaking cybersecurity consultationsThe notes, prepared earlier this year for Monik Beauregard, a senior assistant deputy minister at Public Safety Canada, were obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. Beauregard is chairing a panel today on the global implications of the challenges to cybersecurity at an intelligence conference in Ottawa. In addition, Greta Bossenmaier, the head of Canada's electronic spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, plans to discuss the various cyberchallenges the country faces. The conference comes as the Liberal government undertakes a cybersecurity consultation that runs through mid-October. The overall aim is to identify gaps and opportunities, bring forward ideas to shape a renewed approach and capitalize on the advantages of new technology.
'Black Swan'State-sponsored hackers, sophisticated criminals, cause-motivated hacktivists and people out to make mischief online all pose a threat, the government warns. Public Safety is already working with critical infrastructure operators to prepare for the possibility of a major cyberattack on the Canadian electrical grid and telecommunications systems, the internal notes say. Security officials call such an occurrence a "black swan" — a rare but devastating event that requires special attention due to the potential for massive losses should it happen.