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.
Addressing its national security mandate, the police force warned that “improved capabilities” are required to counter groups seeking to attack Canada's digital infrastructure or to conduct criminal activities.
The theme was echoed in the annual report by Public Safety Canada, the agency that oversees the national police force. Noting that global networks increase the vulnerability of Canada's digital infrastructure, the agency highlighted the creation of a critical infrastructure information sharing framework to connect government departments and critical non-governmental partners. Responding to findings that the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre was unable to co-ordinate a national response to online threats, the agency noted that it required “modern tools and mechanisms” to counter potential attacks.
Two recent cyber attacks on government networks have left officials scrambling to ensure Canadians that sensitive information is secure. In 2010, hackers using servers based in China successfully breached sectors within three federal departments. Last summer, networks at four other federal departments were breached, according to information that was obtained by journalists through access to information filings.