Domain Awareness

Petroleum sector hacking expected

The Communications Security Establishment warned today that Russia-aligned non-state actors will continue trying to compromise Canada’s petroleum sector. “The intent of this activity is very likely to disrupt critical services for psychological impact, ultimately to weaken Canadian support for Ukraine,” it said in its latest threat assessment. “This activity will almost certainly continue for the duration of the war, and will likely increase as Russia’s invasion efforts falter, or new support for Ukraine is announced.” [node:read-more:link]

Hindu nationalism in Canada

A report commissioned by the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the World Sikh Organization says that a Hindu nationalist paramilitary movement, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is entrenched in influential circles within the Indian diaspora in Canada. Co-author Steven Zhou, who works for the Ottawa-based National Council of Canadian Muslims, says RSS “is supremacist at its root and relegates the minorities of India into second-class citizens.” [node:read-more:link]

Foreign agent registry a priority

Results of a national December 19-22 poll indicate that no less than 88 per cent of Canadians are supportive of a foreign agent registry like those in place in the U.S. and elsewhere. “If you are afraid to report that you have been working for a foreign country or a foreign organization, perhaps that should be a red flag,” pollster Nick Nanos said in releasing the results. If the government delays setting up a registry “and we find out that there are issues or potential risks in Canada,” he warns, “there will be a political price to pay.” [node:read-more:link]

Foreign interference on the rise

Veteran CSIS analyst Noura Hayek says there has been an “alarming escalation” of espionage and foreign interference in Canada in the past few years. “They’re real, they’re persistent, they’re increasing,” she told a Council on Governmental Ethics Laws conference December 4. “We see it every day . . . and these activities will be targeting all level of governments.” [node:read-more:link]

OttawaU under fire over press freedom

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other federal politicians are criticizing the University of Ottawa for banning cameras during a speech November 28 by China’s ambassador Canada. Cong Peiwu requested that no cameras be present when he spoke at a conference on “China and the World” and the university’s immediate compliance sparked a barrage of criticism about freedom of the press. [node:read-more:link]

CBSA received PM death threat

The Canada Border Services Agency received a death threat against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and inquiries about how to import bullets during last winter's “Freedom Convoy.” Former CBSA President John Ossowski told the Emergencies Act inquiry November 16 that the threats showed up on its online “contact us” form. [node:read-more:link]

Committee to tackle electoral meddling

MPs on a House of Commons procedural committee agreed November 14 to investigate reports that Chinese agents interfered in the Canadian political process. Alberta Conservative Michael Cooper requested the committee meeting to look into a “sophisticated campaign” to “subvert Canadian democracy.” Liberals on the committee agreed to the inquiry but suggested the bicameral National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians would be a better venue. [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s northern presence ineffectual

A report today from the Office of the Auditor General says that Canada lacks a complete picture of who is entering or traversing Arctic waters, partly due to the fact that a naval surveillance station can only operate four weeks a year. Overall, it says, the country cannot stay on top of threats to national security, illegal fishing or pollution posed by marine traffic which has tripled in recent years as sea ice diminishes. [node:read-more:link]

Canada recommits to cybersecurity initiative

Cybersecurity officials from Canada and three dozen countries agreed November 1 that they would continue to cooperate on responding to ransomware attacks. Their meeting in Washington also set the stage for an Australia-led International Counter Ransomware Task Force to facilitate information sharing. [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s has “tenuous hold” on Arctic

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, has told the House of Commons standing committee on national defence that Canada’s “tenuous hold” on its Arctic territories will come under increasing challenge in the decades ahead as China and Russia expand their presence. He also mooted the notion that an increasingly isolated Russia could become a Chinese “vassal state” because of its increasing reliance on its neighbour. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. supporting Iranian protesters

The U.S. Treasury Department is supporting widespread dissent in Iran by facilitating Internet-related exceptions to sanctions designed to make it difficult for U.S. companies to operate there. The decision enables companies to give Iranians “more options of secure, outside platforms and services.” [node:read-more:link]

Italy’s energy sector under cyberseige

Cyberattacks on Italian energy operators and infrastructure are increasing, says the country’s National Cyber Security Agency. Following two breaches over the last week, it urges the sector to “raise the levels of protection of digital infrastructure of energy operators” and says it is “constantly updating them in line with the most recent threat information” as attackers use new coding software. [node:read-more:link]

Russian hackers keeping busy

Microsoft has published new details about suspected Russian hackers who have carried out cyberespionage attacks against NATO government organizations, think tanks, and defence contractors since at least 2017. The company’s Threat Intelligence Center said August 15 that it has “taken actions to disrupt campaigns” launched by the group. [node:read-more:link]

Spyware surveillance confirmed by government

During an appearance before a parliamentary committee August 8, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and senior RCMP officers defended the long-standing use of “spyware” during dozens of investigations. Among other things, the committee was told that the technologies’ use “is always “limited”, time constrained and never for mass surveillance. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP accused of “evasive” testimony

A parliamentary committee’s attempts to learn more about the RCMP’s use of facial recognition were so unproductive May 9 that Conservative MP James Bezan called officials’ testimony “evasive.” The committee’s hearings are in response to a warning last year that the Clearview AI software violated Canadian privacy laws but Bezan said the officials’ “one-word answers and being dodgy is not fulfilling our work.” [node:read-more:link]


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