The following article, Canadian Leadership Presses for Rapid Cyber Response as Trudeau Finally Bans China’s Huawei, was first published on Flag And Cross.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s War in Ukraine is now in its 4th month, and the attacks have not been limited to the conventional theaters of warfare, as Russia-based cyberattacks have devastated the economy of Ukraine while targeting allies of the embattled country.
In April of the year, a joint advisory from cybersecurity agencies in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, warned entities globally of growing cyber dangers from Russia. At the time, it was thought that attacks targeting the allies of Ukraine responsible for bringing sanctions against Russia’s economy would materialize, and there have been waves of attacks already reported.
The advisory clearly stated that the dangers were not limited to possible attacks from state-sponsored Advanced Persistent Threat Groups (APTs), as several non-governmental cyber gangs have “recently publicly pledged support for the Russian government,” and reports state that attacks may “occur as a response to the unprecedented economic costs imposed on Russia as well as material support provided by the United States and U.S. allies and partners.”
These facts were certainly on the mind of Canada’s Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne recently, as he lobbied the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union) to establish a quick reaction group that could share their combined intelligence to defend against Russian cyber-attacks that can target crucial Canadian information-technology infrastructure.
Since the outset of war, Hermetic Wiper Malware attacks have wiped away data on computer systems configured for Microsoft Windows. If these attacks were to extend beyond the battlefield and target western nations, they could have devastating consequences.
Champagne implored the G7, “How can you do more together? What we proposed is a working group to increase our collective resilience.”
Just weeks earlier, Canada’s Security Intelligence Service (SIS) warned that “Canada remains a target for malicious cyber-enabled espionage, sabotage, foreign influence, and terrorism-related activities which pose significant threats to Canada’s national security, its interests and its economic stability,” and that “cyber actors conduct malicious activities” for political, economic, military and security reasons.
Mitigating the constant Russian cyber threat is key, especially as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a crucial ban of Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE from Canada’s 5G networks. Canada is the last member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to impose a 5G ban against the China companies.
This move is critical, as just prior to the start of the Ukraine War, a new cooperative alliance was struck between Putin and China.
This new China-Russia alliance poses dangers, and not just to Ukraine, and potentially, Taiwan, but to the whole planet, as both China and Russia have conducted at least a decade’s worth of reconnaissance hacking.
Hackers from China penetrated a US Navy contractor working with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, back in 2018. The hack occurred a few years after NBC News would post an NSA map that revealed “more than 600 corporate, private or government ‘Victims of Chinese Cyber Espionage’ attacked over a five-year period, with clusters in America’s industrial centers.” While among other major attacks, perhaps Russia’s most valuable piece of work remains the SolarWinds hack, that affected tens of thousands of entities in both the private and public sectors globally.
China and Russia pose the greatest cyber threat to the West. This much is clear. American’s have witnessed this in the form of major supply chain ransomware attacks like the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods attacks of 2021. Now, in 2022, as we expect the next major wave of cyberattacks, it is relieving to see that Canada seems to finally be getting it right on the key issues.
Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by numerous websites and he is regularly seen on National and International news programming.