Spies as IT consultants?

April 20, 2010

When Canada's national security is at stake, it seems the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is as pleased to make a house call as the Geek Squad.

Recently, CSIS rejuvenated a program that it launched in the early 1990s to confer with organizations whose data is deemed vital to national interests. Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the agency shifted its focus, but the growing wave of cyberthreats from outside Canada have prompted CSIS to begin reaching out again to companies in sectors such as aerospace, biotechnology, petroleum and agriculture.

CSIS spokeswoman Isabelle Scott said the spy agency “continues to speak with various corporations in Canada on potential online threats that may have an impact on national security interests.”

As a policy, she said the agency will neither confirm nor deny specific consultations and cannot comment on how many sessions are held, although she said they are held across the country.

Scott said CSIS doesn't tailor advice to fit individual security threats but does alert firms to potential problems.

“We describe the steps that organizations should take to protect information that might compromise national security," she said.

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