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 Information Operations (the cyber threat)
by: Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)

Reviewed by Heather Allan, University College of the Cariboo November 2000


        As the title suggests, this article is concerned with the challenges being faced by Canada due to the introduction of Digital Era.1 There is a discussion of how “aspects of Canadian society are becoming increasingly dependant on electronic information and its supporting technology.”2  This is an issue because “as this dependance increases, so too does our vulnerability to any disruption or compromise of our national information infrastructure.”3

 The article goes on to illustrate the availability of information aimed at malicious mischief and the destruction of infrastructure. With the influx of technology into Canadian homes, there is also an additional elevated risk of disruption if the home system is damaged or tapped. “However, the Service’s concern focuses on those who would use this new technology to engage in espionage, sabotage, foreign influence or
terrorism as defined by the CSIS Act.”4  Although physical terrorist attacks on Canada are somewhat rare due to geographic location, we are just as vulnerable as every other industrialized country to cyber attacks because of “our seamless connectivity to global cyber-space”5 .

 There is also an interesting comparison between the American and Canadian means to deal with this problem. The Americans chosen to institute a “the National Infrastructure Protection Centre (NIPC). The National Infrastructure Protection Centre is part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and utilizes the resources of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Centre ("CITAC").”6 The Canadian system is not governmentally run but depends instead on “private sector organization, CANCERT (the "Canadian Computer Emergency Response Team") that performs a role analogous to that of FedCERT.”7

 While this article may not be of interest to everyone, I feel that it provides good overview of some of the issues surrounding cyber terrorism and a valid discussion of the merits as well as the flaws of the Canadian response to this new security threat.

1. Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Information Operations (the cyber threat), Last Visited November 29, 2000.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.