Interventions in Committee
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André Boucher
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André Boucher
2019-07-15 13:52
Thank you, Mr. Chair. As requested, I'll keep my presentation on the shorter side.
Mr. Chair and honourable members of the committee, my name is André Boucher, and I am the associate deputy minister of operations at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this afternoon.
Let me begin with a brief overview of who we are.
The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security was launched on October 1, 2018 as part of the Communications Security Establishment. We are Canada's national authority on cybersecurity and we lead the government's response to cybersecurity events.
As Canada's national computer security incident response team, the cyber centre works in close collaboration with government departments, critical infrastructure, Canadian businesses and international partners to prepare for, respond to, mitigate and recover from cyber events. We do this by providing authoritative advice and support, and coordinating information sharing and incident response.
The cyber centre's partnerships with industry are key to this mission. Our goal is to promote the integration of cyber defence into the business model of industry partners to help strengthen Canada's overall resiliency to cyber threats. Despite these efforts and those of Canada's industry, cyber incidents do still happen.
This brings me to the topic we are here to discuss today. The cyber centre is not in a position to provide any details on this incident and does not comment on the cybersecurity practices of specific businesses or individuals. Any cyber breach, not just this specific instance, can be taken as an opportunity to revisit best practices and to refine systems, processes and safeguards.
In this case, media reporting and public statements indicate that the disclosure of personal information occurred as a result of the actions of an individual within the company—what is termed insider threat.
In our recent introduction to the cyber-threat environment, the cyber centre described the insider threat as individuals working within an organization who are particularly dangerous because of their access to internal networks that are protected by security parameters. For any malicious actor, access is key. The privileged access of insiders within an organization eliminates the need to employ other remote means and makes their job of collecting valuable information that much easier. More broadly, what this incident underscores is the human element of cybersecurity. The insider threat is only one example of this.
Cybercriminals have proven especially adept at exploiting human behaviour through social engineering to deceive targets into handing over valuable information. Fundamentally, the security of our systems depends on humans—users, administrators and security teams.
What can we do in a world of increasing cyber-threats? At the enterprise level, adopting a holistic approach to security is critical. This means starting with a culture of security and putting in place the right policies, procedures and cybersecurity practices. This ensures that when something goes wrong, as it almost inevitably will, there is a plan in place to address it.
Then we need to invest in knowing and empowering our people. Training and awareness for individuals and businesses are very important. Only with awareness can we continue to develop and instill good security practices, a fundamental step in securing Canada's cybe systems.
As well, we always need to identify and protect critical assets. Know where your key data lives; protect it; monitor the protection, and be ready to respond.
At the cyber centre, we'll continue to work with industry and to publish cybersecurity advice and guidance on our website. We regularly issue alerts and advisories on potential, imminent or actual cyber-threats, vulnerabilities or incidents affecting Canada's critical infrastructure.
Under, we hope, different circumstances, we'll continue to participate in conversations like this one, which help to keep the spotlight on these issues.
Ultimately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to cybersecurity. We cannot be complacent; there is too much at stake. While long-promised advances in technology may make the task easier, the need for skilled and trustworthy individuals will remain a constant.
Thank you, and I look forward to answering your questions.
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