Canada increasingly in the cyber crosshairs of Moscow, Tehran and Beijing

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Canada increasingly in the cyber crosshairs of Moscow, Tehran and Beijing

The pandemic, with its spread of remote work, has opened the door to more threats and digital attacks, including using ransomware.

These state actors are setting the stage for possible attacks, claims a new report.

Foreign actors, including from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, are continuing their attempts to infiltrate Canadian networks and infrastructure, says the latest report from the Center for Cybersecurity.

The document in question, which is published every two years, indicates that Moscow, Tehran, Beijing and Pyongyang continue to be the greatest cyber threats targeting Canada, and that critical infrastructure remain prime targets for cybercriminals and state-sponsored perpetrators.

What the authors of the report make clear, however, is that these foreign actors do not necessarily spring into action immediately; rather, they would seek information through espionage, prepositioning themselves in the event of hostilities, and use of force and intimidation.

If ever a conflict were to arise between Canada and one of these states with cyberattack programs, or sponsoring groups of hackers, then digital criminals would spring into action.

And these illicit activities could have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to communicate and receive essential goods and services.

The report also indicates that cyberthreats turn to fake news, including to defend geopolitical interests, in addition to undermining public trust in virtual spaces, such as social networks.

In fact, Canadians'exposure to [misinformation and misinformation and misinformation] campaigns is almost certain to increase over the next two years, the paper's authors point out.

While the Cyber ​​Center mostly reports infiltration attempts, that doesn't mean attacks aren't being launched against Canadian targets.

Already in September, a report by the Multidimensional Conflict Observatory of the University of Quebec in Montreal revealed the existence of at least 75 foreign cyber threats of a political or industrial nature targeting Canada since 2010. , ranging from attempts to steal research related to COVID-19 to targeting Uyghur human rights activists.

The Center for Cybersecurity document states that since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, more than 400 healthcare organizations in Canada and the United States have faced attacks by ransomware (a software malware locking a computer system while demanding a ransom to regain access to data, editor's note).

A cyber incident also strongly affected the Newfoundland health system. and Labrador, we also read.

Additionally, Center specialists say they have observed an increase in threats targeting municipal and provincial governments, with more than 100 cases of cyber threat activity targeting Canadian municipalities since the start of 2020.

With the obligation for a large number of Canadians to work from home during the worst periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses here have sometimes had to develop digital infrastructures very quickly.

In doing so, security is not always there, whether on the employer's side, on the employee's side, or at another point between these two actors.

Thus, the authors of the report write that the volume of data collected on every Canadian is significant, and that this volume will only increase as new technologies enter the market, creating a host of opportunities for threat actors looking to steal personal information.

Since 2020, in fact, Internet use has jumped 64% in the country. This opens the door to all kinds of risks if the necessary precautions are not taken.

Thus, one of the recommendations contained in the report concerns the need to secure networks and to adopt good practices in the protection of infrastructures and personal information.

Unsurprisingly, the Canadian Center for Cyber ​​Security report also notes that cyber threat actors are very likely to continue to exploit hybrid work infrastructure and target home networks, as well as computers. personal employee devices to access Canadian organizations.

And rather than necessarily going after employees or employers directly, digital buccaneers could also target middlemen, including links in the supply chain, already strained by pandemic restrictions, labor shortages and inflation, among other issues.

In addition to threats directly targeting Canadians, the report also notes the prosecution steps, by a large number of States, to develop competing standards to regulate the dissemination of information on the Internet.

Thus, the authors rely on data from the organization Freedom House, which points out that 56% of Internet users on the planet live in countries where political, social or religious content has been blocked online.< /p>

And it is largely the same actors who are promoting cyber threats against Canada, such as Russia, Iran and China, who are fueling the development of this parallel Internet, where everything , or almost, is controlled by state companies, and where censorship is king.

Another organization mentioned in the report, AccessNow, reported that the; last year, 34 countries used Internet shutdowns to suppress social and political unrest, or to control the dissemination of information during elections and in times of conflict.

And it is very likely that over the next two years, the divergences will continue to grow e between an open and transparent Internet and an Internet focused on national sovereignty, write the authors of the Center for Cybersecurity.

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