State-sponsored programmes from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea pose the greatest high-tech threats to Canada, a report from the nation’s authority on cyber security warned on November 18.
“The number of cyber threat actors is rising, and they are becoming more sophisticated”, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security said.
The centre found that those four countries are very likely attempting to build up capacities to disrupt key Canadian infrastructure – like the electricity supply – to further their goals.
The report said they are also expected to target intellectual property related to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic in order to boost their own response to the contagion.
Threats against Canadians and their companies include cyber spying and online influence campaigns.
“The most sophisticated capabilities belong to state-sponsored cyber threat actors who are motivated by economic, ideological and geopolitical goals,” the centre said.
“We assess that almost certainly the state-sponsored programmes of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea pose the greatest state-sponsored cyber threats to Canadian individuals and organisations,” it added.
That said, many other states are rapidly developing their own cyber threats.
State-sponsored attackers are expected to continue to “conduct commercial espionage against Canadian businesses, academia, and governments”, the centre said.
It further warned that the pandemic has led to a jump in teleworking and online activity in general for Canadians, a trend that will continue and could expose people to an evolving array of cyber threats.
Canadians lost over C$43 million (US$32.9 million) to cybercrime fraud last year, according to statistics from the Canadian AntiFraud Centre.