CSE Highlights of Minister of National Defence’s Mandate Letter
A safe and secure cyber space is critical for the security, stability and prosperity of Canada.
The global cyber security threat landscape is rapidly evolving. Cyber incidents, including significant critical infrastructure incidents, are increasing in number and sophistication.
While the Government of Canada is equipped with the appropriate tools to respond to the challenge, there is a gap when it comes to this demand for the cyber security services of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) versus the resources we have available to respond to these challenges.
That is why in my mandate letter, the Prime Minister specifically included the priorities of ensuring that CSE is in a position to lead the national response to rapidly evolving cyber risks and threats, including through adequate resources.
I was also tasked with working with my colleagues, the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and other implicated ministers on the renewal of the National Cyber Security Strategy.
The renewed strategy will outline Canada's long-term plan to protect our national security and economy, deter cyber threat actors, and promote norms-based international behavior in cyberspace.
As outlined in my mandate letter MND will also work to continue to advance the National Cyber Security Action Plan.
This will help ensure that Canada is well positioned to address urgent and pressing cyber risks, and to ensure the security and integrity of Canada’s critical systems.
Foreign Interference and the Democratic Process
In the lead up to and during the 2021 Federal Election, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) worked closely with partners at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as part of the Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections Task Force (SITE).
CSE’s Cyber Centre also worked with Elections Canada to help secure election systems and infrastructure.
Our security and intelligence agencies coordinated integrated government efforts by raising awareness, monitoring, and reporting on threats, and providing advice to protect our democracy.
Outside election periods, the SITE Task Force partners continue to work within their respective mandates to detect and counter possible foreign threats to Canada and its democratic institutions.
CSE and its Cyber Centre will continue to help ensure Canada’s democratic institutions and processes are protected.
We take the security of our country’s critical infrastructure very seriously. While we cannot comment on specific companies, the Government has been conducting an examination of emerging 5G technology and the associated security and economic considerations.
As the Prime Minister noted, there will be a decision made on the 5G security review in due course.
We continue to work with partners and other agencies to mitigate risks stemming from designated equipment and services, including Huawei, being used in Canadian 3G, 4G, and LTE telecommunications networks.
CSE Cyber Capabilities
Everyday, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) uses its sophisticated cyber and technical expertise to help identify, prepare for, and defend against threats to Canada’s information systems and networks.
In light of Russia’s ongoing, unjustified military actions in Ukraine, CSE and its Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) strongly encourage all Canadian organizations to take immediate action and bolster their online cyber defences.
The Government of Canada is working to reduce the threat of ransomware by targeting and disrupting cybercriminals, coordinating strategies with international allies and by issuing advice, guidance, and services for those affected by ransomware.
Combatting ransomware is not just a government effort. Many cyber incidents are preventable. CSE encourages all businesses to immediately review their risk management and business continuity plans with the ransomware threat in mind.
CSE has tools in place to monitor, detect, and investigate potential threats, and to take active measures to address them. If Canadian companies have been impacted by cyber threats, they are urged to contact CSE’s Cyber Centre.