Canadian Centre for Cyber Security Releases the Canadian National Cyber Threat Assessment 2020

News release

Ottawa, Ontario, November 18 2020 – The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) has released its National Cyber Threat Assessment 2020.

This public report, based on both classified and unclassified sources, identifies current trends in the cyber threat environment, the likelihood that these cyber threats will occur, and how Canadians could be affected.

The second iteration of our unclassified assessment notes that the number of cyber threat actors is increasing, and they are becoming more sophisticated, that cybercrime will almost certainly continue to be the cyber threat most likely to affect Canadians and that Ransomware attacks will almost certainly continue to target large enterprises and critical infrastructure providers.

We have assessed that state-sponsored actors will almost certainly continue to attempt to steal Canadian intellectual property and proprietary information, especially related to COVID-19.

In addition, the assessment details that actors are very likely working to develop cyber capabilities to disrupt Canadian infrastructure, such as the electricity supply, to further their goals. However, we judge that in the absence of international hostilities, in is unlikely that state-sponsored actors would intentionally disrupt Canadian critical infrastructure.


“Cyber security has never been more important, as more and more of our business and personal activities move online. As this report from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security shows, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, and more far-reaching. This report helps policymakers, business leaders and individual Canadians increase their online safety in an evolving cyber threat landscape.”

- Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“From cybercriminals holding our personal information for ransom, to state-sponsored actors threatening our critical infrastructure, the cyber threats Canadians face are increasing in sophistication and severity. That’s why the Cyber Centre’s approach of security through collaboration is more important than ever. The conclusions reached in this report show why we must continue to work closely with our allies, and our partners across government and industry to build Canada’s cyber resilience.”

- Scott Jones, Head, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

Quick facts

    • The state-sponsored cyber programs of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose the greatest strategic threats to Canada.
    • We have assessed that state-sponsored actors will almost certainly continue to attempt to steal Canadian intellectual property and proprietary information, especially related to COVID-19.
    • Online foreign influence campaigns are the new normal, and no longer limited to key political events such as election periods.
    • Adversaries now look to influence discourse on both domestic and international current events.



    This is the Cyber Centre’s second National Cyber Threat Assessment. The first was published in December, 2018.

    In addition to publishing the National Cyber Security Assessment 2020 today, the Cyber Centre has also published an updated edition of its Introduction the Cyber Threat Environment.  This introductory reference document provides baseline information about the cyber threat environment, including information about cyber threat actors and their motivations, their techniques, and tools in a Canadian context.


    About the Cyber Centre

    Part of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Cyber Centre is the Government of Canada’s authority on cyber security, and is the single, unified government source of expert advice, guidance, services and support on cyber security operational matters.

    The Cyber Centre works with businesses and organizations that have been victim to a cyber incident in order to mitigate the impact of cyber security incidents.


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Floriane Bonneville, Press Secretary


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