Organized Cybercrime a Threat to Canada’s National Security and Economy

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s national signal intelligence agency, has warned that organized cybercrime poses a significant threat to the country’s national security and economic prosperity in the next two years. In their report, Russia and Iran were identified as cybercrime safe havens for criminals targeting Western entities.

According to the report, ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and pipelines, can be highly profitable for cyber criminals. The resilience and innovation displayed by these criminals in their business models further exacerbate the threat.

CSE stated that ransomware is the most disruptive form of cybercrime in Canada, given its pervasive nature and severe impact on organizations’ functionalities. In 2022 alone, Canada witnessed 70,878 reported cases of cyber fraud, resulting in over $530 million stolen. However, Chris Lynam, director general of Canada’s National Cybercrime Coordination Centre, believes that the actual amount stolen could easily exceed $5 billion, considering the underreporting of such crimes.

The report also highlighted that Russian intelligence services and law enforcement likely maintain relationships with cyber criminals, allowing them to operate with near impunity as long as their targets are outside the former Soviet Union. Conversely, Tehran is suspected of tolerating cybercrime activities by Iran-based criminals that align with the state’s strategic and ideological interests.

These findings emphasize the need for increased vigilance and preventive measures against cybercrime in Canada. Every sector and type of business is being targeted, making it essential for organizations to take this threat seriously. Safeguarding national security and economic stability requires proactive efforts to address organized cybercrime effectively.