Russia, China, North Korea—these major state-level actors have all staged major events in the cyber-warfare arena, and have proven to be the major cybersecurity players of the 21st Century.
But from now on, you better add Canada to that list. Yesterday, CBC News leaked the details of the formerly-inconspicuous Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Canadian NSA. With the help of the Intercept, they laid bare the programs and techniques the Canadian cybersecurity establishment uses to hack and disrupt other nations.
Most Americans who hear the words “Canadian threat” conjure up a pat stereotype of polite, moose-riding mounties with quaint accents who ski into combat. But the revelations about the vicious capabilities of the CSE makes me, as a red-blooded American, proud to share a continent with them.
According to the CBC, Canadian hackers are able to:
- Disrupt not just communications, but actual infrastructure like electrical grids or banking systems.
- Wipe traces of their involvement, delete emails, purge major data-centers and make defensive forces believe another country was responsible.
- Collaborate with the NSA to hack into Mexican servers, along with a host of unnamed countries countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
So what did the CSE have to say in response? They say that the documents that were leaked are old news—current programs are way better and more cost efficient.
“The leaked materials are dated documents,” the CSE responded in their multiple-page response to CBC, “and some explored possible ideas to better protect the Government of Canada’s information systems while also seeking cost efficiencies.”
Check out the full CBC report here, where you can even read about the crazy stuff that Canada imagined up even if they weren’t able to actually pull it off, like building a cyber-security “perimeter around Canada,” which makes no sense logistically but demonstrates some serious ambition.
Oh, and this all comes on the same day that Canadian Industry Minister James Moore announced that the federal government is going to spend $75 million dollars on drones to “fight terrorism.”
You heard it, fools: Don’t sleep on Canada.