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Canada unveils new cybersecurity strategy to bolster defenses against evolving cyberthreats

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The Canadian federal government has rolled out a new cybersecurity strategy to shore up its defenses and protect the country and its citizens against evolving threats and cybercrimes.

The plan is an update to Canada's first cybersecurity strategy in 2010 and is backed by an investment of CA $500 million dollars which will be spent over the next five years. The core strategy of the new plan includes a range of initiatives aimed at securing public and businesses such as the establishment of a new cybersecurity centre, a certification program for small businesses that want to escalate their cyber defense system and more resources for RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to tackle online crime.

"Major corporations, industries and our international allies and partners are engaged in the global cyber challenge. But many others are not — representing a significant risk, but also a missed opportunity in this rapidly growing global industry. While it is important to be keenly aware of cyber threats, Canada's cybersecurity policy cannot be driven by fear and defensiveness", Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a press release.

The new certification program will be built in consultation with industry, SMEs and potential certification bodies. The department of Innovation, Science and Economic (ISED) will be responsible for approving the program while the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) will define a basic set of measures for SMEs. The Standard Council of Canada will approve certification bodies that will evaluate whether the SMEs have met the necessary security standards.

Approximately 71 percent of data breaches in Canada involve a small or medium-sized business. According to the strategy document, Ottawa will take “a leadership role to advance cybersecurity in Canada and will, in coordination with allies, work to shape the international cybersecurity environment in Canada’s favor.”

“The strategy is the roadmap for Canada’s path forward on cybersecurity and is designed to meet the objectives and priorities of Canadians. We are proud to be leading the way,” Goodale said.

Although the new strategy garnered praise for helping small businesses better protect themselves, the Council of Canadian Innovators said it was “disappointing to see lack of commitment to build Canada’s cyber sector.”

“Cyber is the fastest growing ICT sector in the world and domestic innovators present an opportunity for our government to grow our economy and deploy world-class technology solutions for protecting Canada’s digital borders,” executive director Benjamin Bergen said in a statement.

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