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Cyber threat to Canadian elections increasing, spy agency says


Published on June 16, 2017

OTTAWA — Canada's electronic spy agency says the threat of cyberattacks on the country's electoral process is increasing and steps must be taken to counter it.

The warning is contained in a new report released by the Communications Security Establishment and comes amid questions about Russia's role in the last U.S. election.

The Canadian spy agency says so-called hacktivists and cyber criminals did launch low-level attacks during Canada's last election in 2015, although it says those attacks had no discernible impact and there are no indications that foreign countries were involved.

The report nonetheless warns that foreign adversaries could try to influence Canada's next federal election in 2019, depending on what they think about this country's foreign and domestic policies and what different parties are saying

Among the concerns are that hackers and other nefarious actors, state-sponsored or otherwise, could attempt to suppress voter turnout, steal information from parties, discredit candidates and spread disinformation.

CSE officials say they will brief all federal parties and federal and provincial election officials on the threat in the coming weeks and outline ways to protect the system.

 

The Canadian Press